TN Men Held for Carrying EVMs; ‘Not the One Used for Polling’: CEO
The Velachery police station witnessed tense moments as DMK and Congress activists gathered outside the station.
After the Tamil Nadu Assembly polls on Tuesday, 6 April, three men were found carrying two electronic voting machines (EVMs) and one VVPAT machine on two-wheelers in Velachery.
The men wore ‘polling official’ badges but were later identified as corporation staff. Cash worth Rs 1.12 lakh was also found on them, which they claimed was for staff salary, The Times of India reported.
The men were confronted when one of the machines fell on the road. Later, Velachery police station witnessed tense moments as hundreds of DMK and Congress activists gathered outside the station to demand immediate action.
The three officials have been consequently suspended by the Election Commission (EC) and an enquiry is underway, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Satyabrata Sahoo said.
How Were the ‘Polling Officials’ Caught?
When one of the machines fell on the Taramani road in Velachery, a food delivery executive noticed it and confronted the riders.
As outrage sparked over the incident, workers from the DMK and Congress reached the spot and argued with the police, accusing of a serious breach of protocol. A road blockade was also put in place, demanding the immediate arrest of the individuals.
CV Elango, a DMK worker alleged that the police were too quick in taking away the men and said, “They were wearing ‘Polling Official’ badges, but we suspect them to be AIADMK workers,” The Times of India reported.
Tamil Nadu CEO Satyabrata Sahoo said that as per preliminary findings by the district electoral officer (DEO), the EVMs carried by the men were not the ones used for polling. He added that strict action will be taken against anyone in violation of the SOPs for EVM transportation.
How the Stand Operating Procedure Was Violated:
Velachery Returning Officer VR Subbulakshmi highlighted how EC rules were flouted and said, “After the polling ended, the officials were instructed to hand over the unpolled EVMs to our strong room set up at a school in Tiruvanmaiyur. Instead of following due process, the officials were carrying the unused ones in a two-wheeler,” The Indian Express reported.
Former DMK Mayor Ma Subramanian asked the election commission to verify call records of the men to ascertain if there was any wrongdoing. He added, “We seek a fair probe into the matter and a re-election for the concerned booth from where the machines were transported.”
TNCC President KS Alagiri said, “Since afternoon, we have complained about removal of names of DMK supporters from the voters list in Velachery. Inaction was his (CEO Sahoo) answer. Now, EVMs have been seized from unauthorised people.”
(With inputs from The Times of India and The Indian Express.)
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