Assam EVM row: Police arrest 3, magisterial probe ordered
Guwahati/Silchar, April 3 (IANS): The Karimganj District Magistrate (DM) has ordered a magisterial inquiry and the police arrested three people in connection with the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) found in a BJP candidate wife’s vehicle on Thursday night, officials said on Saturday.
A district official said that the Karimganj DM Anbamuthan MP has ordered the magisterial inquiry and entrusted Additional District Magistrate Rajeshan Terang to conduct the probe and submit the report within three days.
Meanwhile, the police also arrested three people for attacking the private car in which the polling personnel along the polled EVM were travelling after the completion of the second phase of polling on Thursday.
Three more people are also detained for questioning.
Two separate FIRs were also lodged with the police by the driver of the private car and polling personnel,
A delegation of Congress and its ally All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) met the Karimganj District Superintendent of Police Mayank Kumar and demanded the release of six people immediately.
The Election Commission on Friday suspended the presiding officer, three other polling officials and an armed escort official and ordered re-polling at the Polling Station no 149 in Indira M.V. School under Ratabari (SC) assembly constituency after an EVM was found in a BJP candidate’s wife’s vehicle on Thursday night.
“Although the seals of the EVM were found intact, it has nevertheless been decided to do a re-poll at the Indira M.V. School polling station as an added precautionary measure,” the EC in a statement said on Friday.
The statement had said that after the official car carrying the polled EVM machine to Karimganj broke down, the officials boarded a passing private car which was subsequently surrounded by a mob of about 50 people who started pelting stones at them.
The mob at Kanaishil (under Karimganj district) alleged that the EVM was being taken to be tampered with. The private car was owned by the wife of BJP candidate of the neighbouring Patharkandi constituency, Krishnendu Paul.
The statement added that due to heavy rains on Thursday night, the roads were muddy due to which the official car of the polling personnel broke down, following which they boarded a private vehicle along with the EVM and other materials without checking the ownership of the car.
Immediately after receiving information about the incident, the District Election Officer of Karimganj along with the district Superintendent of Police (SP) reached the spot at 10.20 p.m. on Thursday night.
During the course of stone pelting, Karimganj SP Mayank Kumar sustained minor injuries on his collarbone and had to resort to firing in the air to disperse the mob.
The first polling officer, who was found missing in the commotion, was rescued early on Friday morning from a nearby area.
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said in a tweet: “Every time there is an election video of private vehicles caught transporting EVMs show up… Unsurprisingly they have the following things in common: 1. The vehicles usually belong to BJP candidates or their associates…”
Nearly 81 per cent of the 73,44,631 voters exercised their franchise in the second phase of polling in Assam on Thursday in the 39 constituencies.
Around 80 per cent of 81,09,815 voters cast their votes on March 27 in the first phase of polling in 47 constituencies.
Of the three-phase elections to the 126-member Assam Assembly, the third and final phase of polling will be held in 40 seats on April 6. The results will be declared on May 2.