Probe ordered into shifting of ‘old’ EVMs

Patiala, February 14

Following a controversy over shifting of “old” EVMs from Government Physical College, Patiala, District Electoral Officer Ramvir Singh has initiated an inquiry into the matter. He has asked for a detailed report from the returning officer (RO) of Nabha.

Jashanpreet Kaur, RO, said she had already started the investigation and was recording the statement of eyewitnesses. She said she would soon submit the probe report.

Speaking to The Tribune, Jashanpreet Kaur said: “We had called all candidates prior to the shifting of old EVMs to make room for counting agents for March 11, but AAP nominee Dev Mann levelled false allegations.”

Meanwhile, another controversy arose when Mann reportedly made a video alleging that the authorities were shifting EVMs and uploaded it on social media.

Ramvir Singh said no one was allowed to carry a mobile phone within 100 metres of the area where EVMs were kept. A
probe was on and the law would take its own course, he said.

Mann, however, said no one stopped them to carry the mobile phone before the incident and now that “we have highlighted their misdeeds, they are trying to cover up their mistake. How else a candidate is supposed to keep tabs on such activities. We were just gathering proof for what was happening there and I don’t see any violation.”

He, however, admitted that the strong room was intact. “I agree that the strong rooms are safe but they cannot move anything from the building without getting it checked from us. It does not matter whether the EVMs were old or new.
Why were they being shifted now is my contention,” he added.

Interestingly, Dev Mann has already put his own lock outside the strong room three days prior to the incident.

Moreover, the strong room is situated on the first floor of the building whereas the old EVMs were being shifted from the ground floor.

When contacted, Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, VK Singh, said his primary duty was to look into the apprehensions of all stakeholders and reinstate their confidence in the Election Commission.

On 13 feb Officers entered strongroom and started removing EVMs.

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