Thiruvananthapuram: Chief electoral officer Teeka Ram Meena has asked returning officer of Kasargod to book three women who cast bogus votes in booth No 19 of Pilathara, Kalliasseri, in the parliamentary constituency.
Action will also be taken against LDF candidate Satheesh Chandran’s poll agent who allegedly abetted the crime.
The cases will be under section 171 (c), 171(d) and 171(f) of Indian Penal Code for impersonation.
State Election Commission has been asked to disqualify local panchayat member Saleena N. P. among the three. A detailed report will be sent to the Election Commission of India (ECI).
At a press conference here on Monday, Mr Meena said 969 of the total 1,091 votes in the booth were polled. There were also 4 EDCs (election duty votes). The voter turnout of 88.82 per cent here was 5.76 per cent more compared to previous elections.
District collectors of Kannur and Kasargod were asked to submit factual reports on the bogus voting allegations received on April 29. The first instance of the three was in booth No 19, involving Sr No 774 voter Padmini. The woman who is not a registered voter of the said polling station, voted twice which has been confirmed. She voted at 5.20 pm and again at 5.47 pm.
The second was Ms Saleena who was also not a registered voter in this polling booth. She is actually the voter in adjacent polling station 17, and her Sr No is 822.
Mr Meena said whether these voters polled their votes in their respective booths could not be ascertained at this stage since all documents including register are in the strongroom with EVMs. “For opening the strongroom, we need the permission of Election Commission,” he said.
In the third was a lady in white shawl identified as Sumayya K. P. She is a voter of booth No 24 under Sr No 315 in the same constituency. Ms Sumayya was a relieving polling agent (relieving agents are substitutes on standby for the original agents). Despite being a relieving agent, she voted there at 5.41 pm. The CEO said all these three instances came under impersonation as per IPC and it is an offence. He asked the panchayat member to step down and cooperate with the detailed probe underway. Mr Meena said there was also procedural lapse in another vote. An assisted voter and CPM-led Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Samithi member K. C. Raghunath represented a doctor who could not come in on his own to vote.
The KVVS brought all the documents to the presiding over and said he was there to assist him. Mr Raghunath took the register out for taking the thumb impression of the doctor. As per the procedure, the doctor should have been brought inside. Moreover, it was not Mr Raghunath but a third person in a red shirt who actually voted on behalf of the doctor. At the time of the bogus voting, only the agents of LDF candidate and an independent candidate were present in the polling station. The poll panel will also look into the role of UDF agent who came in the morning but left abruptly at 11 am. The CEO said the collectors had been directed to submit a detailed report in connection with all these cases. When asked whether action will be initiated against the presiding officer and poll officials, he said they would examine whether there was any breach of responsibility or dereliction of duty on their part.
On the demand of political parties for repoll, he said all options would be looked into by the EC....