Thiruvananthapuram: The Election Commission in Kerala on Monday confirmed the case of bogus votes being cast in the state’s Kasaragod Lok Sabha constituency .
Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena, after receiving a report from Kannur district collector Mir Mohammed Ali, said a case will be filed under sections 171 C, D and F of the Indian Penal Code against three persons, identified as Padmini, Saleena NP and Sumayya KP. The IPC sections refer to undue interference and impersonation at an election.
While Padmini, a resident of Kannur, was found casting her vote twice at Pilathara booth at 5.20pm and then at 5.47pm, Saleena, a panchayat member of the CPI(M) was caught in CCTV visuals exercising her franchise at a booth where she wasn’t a registered voter.
Sumayya, a CPM polling agent, has also been found guilty of the same offence. Saleena is likely to disqualified from the rural body.
The chief electoral officer rubbished the CPI(M)’s claim that they were ‘open votes’ or ‘companion votes’, marked to support electors having vision impairment or other disabilities that hampered them from exercising their franchise on EVMs.
A lapse on the part of polling officers had also been observed, Meena said. The Kasargod district collector would submit a report in this regard which would be sent to the Centre.
A CCTV footage of people casting votes multiple times in the Pilathara booth of Payyannur was aired by television channels recently.
A woman was seen wiping the indelible ink on her index finger immediately after it was put. Later, she was seen casting her vote for the second time.
The video was released by the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF), accusing the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) of resorting to bogus voting fearing defeat.
The UDF has also sought re-polling in 110 booths which witnessed over 90% turnout in the third phase of general election in Kerala.
Following allegations, the Meena had sought a report from the district collectors of Kannur and Kasargod.
“From video evidence, it could be seen that the Left has cast about 5,000 bogus votes in Kasargod constituency,” Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala was quoted as saying by PTI.