AIADMK row: EC asks Tamil Nadu electoral officer to lodge FIR for bribery of voters in RK Nagar bypoll

Chennai: The Election Commission has asked the Tamil Nadu chief electoral officer to lodge a police case over the alleged bribery of voters in RK Nagar Assembly segment, the poll panel has said in reply to a query under the transparency law.

Supporters of All India Anna Dravida Munetra Khazhgam (AIADMK) attend an election campaign rally addressed by J. Jayalalithaa, chief minister of India's Tamil Nadu state and chief of AIADMK, in the southern Indian city of Chennai April 19, 2014. Around 815 million people have registered to vote in the world's biggest election - a number exceeding the population of Europe and a world record - and results of the mammoth exercise, which concludes on May 12, are due on May 16. REUTERS/Babu (INDIA - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)

File image of AIADMK supporters. Reuters

The bypoll slated for 12 April was cancelled subsequently following allegations of large-scale distribution of money to voters, entailing raids by the tax authorities.

The Election Commission said it had directed the CEO, Tamil Nadu on 18 April to ask the RK Nagar returning officer to file a complaint with police for bribing the voters.

In its response to a plea under Right to Information Act by a Chennai-based lawyer, MP Vairakkannan, a copy of which was circulated to media here, Election Commission secretary Malay Mallick in his letter to the CEO refers to the Income Tax report on raids in Tamil Nadu, vis-a-vis the bypoll.

The letter said the commission had received a report on 9 April from IT department on search and seizure of documents indicating a large-scale distribution of money to bribe voters.

The alleged bribe/ inducement was to influence the bypoll in RK Nagar which is an offence under IPC, the letter noted.

"Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, the commission has directed that an FIR may be filed by the RO in the instant case," the letter said.

The letter, signed by Mallick, further said, "It is expected that quick and appropriate action is taken by the police and the commission is apprised about the same at the earliest."

The RTI plea of 26 April was received by the commission on 3 May and the first of its eight questions sought to know about the action over the alleged distribution of money.

The query asked as to what action the poll panel would be taking against the electoral misconduct of distribution of money to voters in RK Nagar constituency against various persons.

The people against whom the proposed action by the poll panel had been enquired about included AIADMK (Amma) deputy general secretary TTV Dinakaran, Chief Minister Edapadi K Palaniswamy and ministers Sengotaiyan, Sellur K Raju, Thangamani and Vijayabaskar.

In response to the RTI plea, the Election Commission said, "The commission has directed that an FIR may be filed by the returning officer in the instant case, vide the commission's letter dated 18 April."

The second query in the RTI application asked, "Whether you (the Election Commission) have any proposal to disqualify the above persons for indulging in election misconduct?"

The Election Commission has responded to this query saying "information not in material form."

Similar was the answer to a question asking if there was any proposal to refer the matter to the CBI for a probe.

Meanwhile, Vairakkannan has approached the Madras High Court over this issue.

In his writ plea, expected to come up on Monday for hearing, he contended that though Election Commission directed the Tamil Nadu CEO to take appropriate action, the latter and the RK Nagar returning officer had not done so.

On the RTI response, he alleged that the CEO and the returning officer "are shielding the offenders for political reason."

He further submitted that it was just and necessary to direct the Tamil Nadu CEO and RK Nagar RO to file an FIR with the police.

He also sought a direction to the police to probe the matter and file a chargesheet for offence punishable under the IPC.

Updated Date: Jun 18, 2017 21:59 PM

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