CHENNAI: Four individuals found carrying two electronic voting machines (EVMs) and one VVPAT machine on twowheelers in Velachery soon after the poll on Tuesday sparked outrage, with the DMK and the Congress accusing a serious breach of protocol. Cash worth Rs 1.12 lakh was also found on them.
Chief electoral officer Satyabrata Sahoo said that as per their preliminary inquiry, the motorists were corporation employees and the EVMs they were carrying were not the ones used for polling. “Detailed inquiry is on. As per preliminary findings of the DEO, these two (machines) were not polled EVMs. We will take strict action on any violation of SOPs,” Sahoo said.
It all started when a food delivery agent noticing the machines being transported on two bikes confronted the riders after one of the machines fell down on Taramani main road in Velachery. As the news spread, a group of DMK and Congress functionaries rushed to the spot and picked up an argument. C V Elango, a DMK functionary, said that even as they were verifying the identity of the men, police reached the scene and took them away saying they need to investigate the matter. “They were wearing ‘Polling Official’ badges, but we suspect them to be AIADMK workers, he said.
Velachery police station witnessed tense moments as hundreds of cadres from the DMK and the Congress gathered outside the station. Police said the motorists were revenue department officials and senior officials were holding talks with Congress candidate Hasan Maulaana and senior DMK functionaries.
Former DMK Mayor Ma Subramanian, who held a long meeting with police and polling officials at the station, said the individuals were poll officials, but he had asked the election commission to verify their call records to identify if there was any wrongdoing. “We seek a fair probe into the matter and a re-election for the concerned booth from where the machines were transported. We also want legal and departmental action against the officers concerned,” Subramanian said.
Regarding the cash, Subramanian said the poll officials have told them that the cash was meant for staff salary and they have sought an investigation on that too. DMK functionaries will meet chief election officer Satyabrata Sahoo on Wednesday.
TNCC president K S Alagiri questioned Sahoo’s stand on Velachery EVM episode, and said: “Since afternoon, we have complained about removal of names of DMK supporters from the voters list in Velachery. Inaction was his answer. Now, EVMs have been seized from unauthorized people,” said Alagiri demanding immediate action.