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Misa lodges FIR to counter poll officers

Patna, April 18: Misa Bharti, the RJD candidate in the Pataliputra constituency, today lodged a counter-FIR against polling officers of a booth she allegedly entered yesterday with armed guards, accusing the officials of misbehaving with her.

Misa — the daughter of RJD chief Lalu Prasad — lodged the FIR at Bihta police station, where a case was lodged yesterday against her on the statement of Shiv Pujan Jha, the presiding officer of the booth she allegedly entered with armed guards. Jha was deputed at polling booth No. 64 at Dehri village under Bikram Assembly segment of the Pataliputra Lok Sabha constituency.

Based on Jha’s statement, Misa has been booked under different sections of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951. Sources said she might have been charged under Section 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of official duty) and Section 171 (undue influence or impersonation at election) of the IPC. Section 353 is non-bailable.

Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaaj said the Bihta station house officer, Shambhu Yadav, had been instructed to gather evidence against the accused and submit chargesheet in the court at the earliest. “Efforts are on to obtain the video footage of the entire episode,” the Bihta SHO said.

State chief electoral officer Ajay V. Naik had said on Thursday that suitable action would be taken against Misa for violating the EC’s guidelines. No candidate is supposed to enter the premises of polling stations with armed guards. Section 144 of CrPC remains in force in the 200m periphery of booths, he said.

Section 144 prohibits display of firearms in the vicinity of the polling station.

The office of the chief electoral officer had initially received complaint that Misa had damaged an electronic voting machine (EVM). During investigation it was found that the EVM was damaged by a group of criminals after Misa had left. “The identity of the criminals involved in damaging the EVM is being ascertained,” the officer said.

Misa claimed that she went to the booth after being tipped-off about rigging.