Nellore: Several bunches of voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips reportedly printed during randomisation were found strewn around the premises of the Government High School at Atmakur in SPSR Nellore district, much to the shock of election officials here on Monday.
Students of the school noticed the slips and brought them to their teachers who alerted the media.
Revenue officials rushed to the school which was used as an intermediate strong room for 115-Atmakur Assembly constituency.
The broken seal of ballot units used at polling station No. 97 was also found on the ground. Revenue officials inspected the school and set fire to the slips and other garbage, mostly papers.
Atmakur RDO and returning officer S. Chinna Ramudu said the slips were generated when random tests of the electronic voting machines were conducted before the polls.
He added that the officials concerned should have preserved them to avoid any suspicion.
Collector and returning officer for Nellore Parliament constituency R. Muthyala Raju also went to Atmakur and examined the slips.
Chief Electoral Officer Gopalkrishna Dwivedi clarified that the VVPAT slips are not of the election day and were generated when BEL engineers tested them after installing the equipment before the election. He said that nearly 1,000 votes were polled by the engineers as part of testing in each constituency before polling.
“The EVMs were sent to polling stations only after testing. Some official threw out the VVPAT slips due to negligence,” Mr Dwivedi said while directing the District Collector to book a criminal case against officials responsible for disposing the slips in the school grounds and arrest them.
He made it clear that returning officers will be held responsible for such kinds of errors.
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