Thiruvananthapuram, April 29 (IANS) Chief Electoral Officer Tikka Ram Meena on Monday confirmed that bogus voting took place at a polling booth in Kannur district and that three women are guilty of it.
“This happened in the polling booth at Pillathara in Kasargode Lok Sabha constituency (in Kannur district). After detailed examination of the visuals, it has been found that three women voted twice. We have asked the returning officer to register cases against the three under various IPC sections,” Meena told media, adding the police wuld conduct a detailed probe.
“The official documents are now kept in the strong room and after the Election Commission officials give the directions , it will also be checked. Right now the probe will start,” said Meena.
“Two polling agents of the CPI-M candidate will also be proceeded against for abetting the crime. The polling officials in the booth will also face the probe. There is nothing what is called ‘open vote’ (as pointed out by CPI-M leaders after the controversy broke out).
One of the women, Salina, is a local member and she has to resign from the post and face the probe, said Meena.
Since Saturday, after TV channels started airing visuals of the bogus voting “caught on camera” in the Kasargod Lok Sabha constituency, the Congress took up the issue before Meena.
On Sunday, Meena asked for a detailed report from the district collectors of Kannur and Kasargod where these incidents were reported.
Kerala voted on April 23 for all 20 Lok Sabha seats.
The district collectors met officials attached to the polling booths where the incidents were reported and sought their version.
The CPI-M’s Kannur district secretary M.V. Jayarajan late on Saturday explained that its workers had only done “open voting”.
However, Congress candidate from Kasargod Lok Sabha constituency Rajmohan Unnithan told the media on Monday that there was no such thing called “open voting”.
“What’s there in law is companion voting. But in these visuals, all these people were voting themselves. Under law, if a person is unable to cast his vote, one can have a companion in the polling booth,” said Unnithan, adding that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan should speak up.
After Meena’s confirmation, State Industries Minister E.P. Jayarajan, often referred to as the number two in the Vijayan cabinet, said nothing of that sort has happened and what happened was companion voting and not bogus voting.
“These women’s names are being dragged by the media and they will take legal action against these TV reports,” said Jayarajan.