An FIR was lodged after four EVMs and four VVPATs were found at a Trinamool Congress leader’s house on Tuesday. Prakash Javadekar has said the incident was “very objectionable”.
The Election Commission on Tuesday suspended a sector officer in West Bengal’s Howrah district after four Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and four voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPATs) machines were found at a Trinamool Congress leader’s house. The incident happened in Tulsiberia village in the Uluberia Uttar Assembly constituency.
A probe was conducted after 4 EVMs and a similar number of VVPATs were found at a TMC leader’s house on Tuesday. The investigation found that the EVMs were reserved machines that have now been removed from the election process.
Sources in the Election Commission told India Today TV that an inquiry has been initiated and severe action will be taken against all involved.
A day before the third phase of polling in 31 assembly constituencies in West Bengal, Tapan Sarkar, who was the officer of Sector 17 in Uluberia Uttar, took four reserve EVMs and four VVPATs and spent the night at his relative’s residence. His relative is Gautam Ghosh, a Trinamool Congress leader.
As per norms, EVMs can only be stored in places designated by the Election Commission. The seals on the EVMs were intact. An FIR has been registered in connection with the case. Apart from sector officer Tapan Sarkar, several cops have also been suspended.
Election Commission 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.”
According to the inputs, 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.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Prakash Javedkar has demanded a probe in the case. Javadekar has said that the Election Commission has taken “some action, but full probe required”. “It is very objectionable, how such machines found at one TMC leader’s house,” he said.