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5 poll officials in Tripura suspended

The suspension orders were served by assistant returning officer Sudhakar Shinde

By Tanmoy Chakraborty in Agartala
  • Published 1.05.19, 12:09 AM
  • Updated 1.05.19, 12:09 AM
  • 2 mins read
Manik Sarkar and other CPM leaders during a rally demanding re-polling, in Agartala on Monday. PTI

Altogether five poll officials — three presiding officers and two micro-observers — were suspended on Tuesday for failing to report booth capturing in Tripura West constituency on April 11.

Tripura West constituency returning officer (RO) Sandeep Namdeo Mahatme issued a notice saying during the scrutiny of some of the documents and video recordings, the manifestation of some persons directly vitiating the poll process were predominantly apparent on polling day.

Speaking to reporters, Mahatme said, “We have suspended 16 officials in total till now, including nine presiding officers and seven micro-observers and have also lodged FIR. According to the Election Commission’s instructions, those who do not submit the report regarding booth capturing have to be suspended”.

After the first phase of election in Tripura West constituency the Congress and the CPM complained against large scale rigging, booth capturing and violence. They also demanded repolling in the constituency.

The suspension orders were served by assistant returning officer Sudhakar Shinde against presiding officers Goutam Debnath, Giridhari Das and Pramode Chandra Sen and micro observers Sangram Sinha and Bhasan Chandra Das.

The notice said Sinha, a professor of Tripura University, didn’t report any incident of poll interruption or poll vitiation, which can be termed as a wilful negligence of election duties.

Bhasan Chandra Das, on the other hand, was found “aiding, abetting booth capturing and promoting corrupt practices” during the election process.

The report also mentioned that the presiding officers did not close down the control unit of the electronic voting machines even after booth capturing started and allowed poll vitiation to continue.

PCC seeks repoll

A PCC delegation, along with leaders of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), met chief election commissioner Sunil Arora in New Delhi on Monday and demanded fresh elections in Tripura West constituency.

The team was led by PCC president Pradyot Kishore Manikya Deb Burman.

Deb Burman told reporters that the team, including former minister Jairam Ramesh, party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala and Avishek Manu Singhvi, met Election Commission officials and submitted a detailed report against alleged violence, rigging and other irregularities in Tripura West on April 11.

“We had a long discussion with the Election Commission. We demanded quick action over mass rigging and booth-capturing that took place during the first phase of elections in Tripura West and immediate holding of fresh elections. They saw merit in our complaint of largescale violence and will take a decision soon,” he added.

After the first phase of polls concluded in Tripura West, the Congress and CPM had raised allegations of mass rigging and irregularities.

Tripura West Congress candidate Subal Bhowmik, who was a part of the delegation, told reporters on Tuesday, “We have informed the EC about booth-jamming, violence and irregularities during polling hours due to which Congress election agents could not enter 900-1,000 of the 1,679 polling stations which went to polls on April 11.”

He showed a report by Tripura West returning officer which mentions that video-recording was not properly done in 433 polling stations.