After the Assam embarrassment, Election Commission (EC) officials are once again in question after four Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and four voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPATs) were found at a Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader’s house. The incident took place in Uluberia’s Tulsiberia village.
Following the incident, the poll panel has suspended a sector officer in Bengal’s Howrah district. Apart from the sector officer, several cops have been also suspended and an FIR has been registered in the matter.
EC has also initiated an inquiry into the incident and asserted that strict action will be taken against the guilty. Prima facie investigations suggest that the EVMs found at the TMC leader’s house were reserved machines that have now been removed from the election process.
What EC said
The poll panel said, “Tapan Sarkar, sector officer of Sector 17 in AC 177 Uluberia Uttar at Howrah District went with Reserve EVM and slept at a relative’s house. This is a gross violation of the EC’s instructions for which the Sector Officer has been suspended and charges will be framed for major punishment.”
“The EVMs and the VVPATs have been taken out of the stock and shall not be used in the polls. These EVMs have now been stored in a separate room in General Observer Neeraj Pawan’s custody.”
An EC official of Sector 17 in Uluberia Uttar, a day before the third phase of voting, took four EVMs and four VVPATs and spent the night at his relative Goutam Ghosh’s residence. Ghosh happens to be a TMC leader.
Norms suggest that the EVMs can be only stored at places earmarked by the EC.
BJP demands thorough probe
The BJP, which is leaving no stone unturned to win the West Bengal polls, said that although action has been taken against some officials by the poll panel, a thorough probe needs to be done on how so many EVMs and VVPATs were found in a TMC leader’s home.
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