Siliguri, Jan 3: A day after 24 photo-identity cards were recovered outside the office of a Siliguri Municipal Corporation councillor, the district administration today said only two of the cards belonged to voters with names on the electoral rolls.
'We went through the names of persons whose cards were handed over to us by the police,' said Swati Banerjee, deputy magistrate and an election officer. 'Barring two, the other names did not feature on the list of voters that is available with us. We fear unscrupulous people are engaged in making fake voters' identity cards to suit their own purposes,' she added.
Trinamul Congress councillor of ward 36 Ranjan Seal Sharma had claimed that he had found the bunch of 24 cards in front of his Ashighar office yesterday morning. He handed over the cards to the Bhaktinagar police station and alleged that a section of CPM leaders had collected the cards on behalf of the voters, but had not handed them over so that they could use them to their advantage.
All the recovered cards were of voters from the Siliguri assembly segment but the place they were found falls under the Raiganj constituency.
The district administration has ordered an inquiry into the case. 'A one-man inquiry committee has been formed and it is expected to submit its final report in a few days. We can initiate steps only after this report comes in,' Banerjee said.
Banerjee said the department is working to identify the persons, whose names and addresses are printed on the cards recovered yesterday. 'We will visit the homes of each of the 24 persons as part of the investigation. We will ask if they had any complaints regarding their identity cards or were issued duplicate cards at some point of time,' she said.
She, however, ruled out speculations of a lapse in the distribution process.
The Telegraph got in touch with Abhijit Sarkar of Jagarani Sangha Road whose name featured on one such recovered card. Sarkar said his card was issued in 2005 while the recovered card showed 2001 as the year of issuance.
Sangeeta Roy of Bharatnagar, another person whose name features on the recovered identity cards, had said yesterday that her card was with her. She told The Telegraph that she had surrendered her identity card, issued in 1995, as her photograph was not clearly visible in it. She had added that a new card had been issued to her in 2005.
Banerjee, however, said, 'none of these cards were ever surrendered to us.'
Bharati Bhushan, Trinamul councillor of ward 24, said two of the recovered cards were in the name of dead voters.