Elections Scrapped in Tamil Nadu's Vellore Lok Sabha Seat After Huge Cash Haul Linked to DMK
President Ram Nath Kovind has accepted the Election Commission's recommendation to cancel the election in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore over excessive use of money power, days after a large sum of cash was seized from the warehouse of a DMK candidate.
The poll panel had sent its recommendation to cancel polling in the Lok Sabha constituency on Monday night, but his acceptance of it was a mere formality. Since the President signs the notification for Lok Sabha elections, it is only he who can rescind it. Vellore was to vote in the second phase on April 18.
Polling for the two Assembly seats under the Vellore LS seat - Ambur and Gudiyattam - facing bypolls, will go ahead as planned on Thursday as the order was specific to the Lok Sabha election, officials told News18.
The EC’s recommendation was sent after cash seizures from the premises of DMK veteran leader and party treasurer Duraimurugan’s son Kathir Anand’s house in Vellore on March 29.
On April 1, based on information that illegal cash was moved from a college owned by the Duraimurugan family to a cement warehouse in Vellore, a second I-T search was launched and Rs 11.53 crore was seized.
“All the cash that was seized was stuffed in cartons and gunny bags neatly packed for distribution division and ward-wise. The cash was shifted from Kingston college Vellore to a cement godown in the night between 29th and 30 March just when there were plans to raid the DMK senior leader Duraimurugan. Beyond doubt it is proved that money belongs to DMK senior leader Duraimurugan," an I-T source had said.
The EC received a report from Tamil Nadu's Chief Electoral Officer and also the special expenditure observer deputed to the state last week. It is based on their inputs that the EC concluded money power was being used to influence voters in the Parliamentary seat.
The DMK had maintained that the raids were politically motivated. Duraimurugan approached the Madras High Court on Monday and said that because of the ongoing raids, his son Kathir Anand who is the DMK candidate from Vellore district is not able to campaign and the raids have prevented Kathir from carrying out election-related works. The DMK said the raids conducted are ‘undemocratic’.
In 2016, the poll body had cancelled elections in Thanjavur and Aravakurichi assembly constituencies after AIADMK and DMK were allegedly bribing voters. By-elections in the RK Nagar seat, which was held by former chief minister late Jayalalithaa, were called off in 2017 after bribery charges.