UPDATED: April 6, 2021 10:01 IST
A reserve Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) was found at a TMC leader’s house and the EC has suspended a Sector Officer, who took the EVM and VVPAT and went to sleep at the residence of the politician in Uluberia of Howrah district in West Bengal.
The EC has said that it was a reserved EVM, which has been removed from the election process for the assembly elections. EC has also said that severe action will be taken against all those who are involved.
How the EVM landed up with the TMC leader
ECI said, “Tapan Sarkar, sector officer of Sector 17 in AC 177 Uluberia Uttar at Howrah District went with Reserve EVM and slept at a relative’s house. This is a gross violation of ECI’s instructions for which the Sector Officer has been suspended and charges will be framed for major punishment.”
Polling officer Tapan Sarkar slept overnight at TMC leader Gautam Ghosh’s residence in Howrah. Sarkar had the EVM and VVPAT when he went to Ghosh’s residence, where he slept overnight.
The Sector Police attached to Sector Officer has also been directed to be suspended. The said EVM and VVPAT have been taken out of the stock and shall not be used in the polls, said the poll body.
General Observer Neeraj Pawan has checked the intactness of all the seals on the EVMs, which are now stored in a separate room in the observer’s custody.
Assam EVM row
The EVM incident in Bengal comes close on the heels of an EVM being found inside the car of Assam BJP candidate Krishnendu Paul soon after the conclusion of the second phase of the assembly election in the state.
Four polling officers were suspended in the incident while repolling was ordered at the Ratabari polling booth in the Patharkandi assembly constituency.
A magisterial probe has been ordered to determine why a polling team in Assam carried an EVM in a vehicle owned by the wife of the BJP candidate.
Violence had broken out on the outskirts of Karimganj town on Thursday night after a crowd spotted the BJP candidate’s vehicle being used to transport the polled EVM to the strong room, prompting the police to fire in the air to bring the situation under control.