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The Election Commission today told the Madras High Court that an FIR had been lodged in April itself on the basis of its report on electoral malpractices before the suspended bypoll for R K Nagar assembly seat. The poll panel counsel made the submission to the bench of justices M Sathyanarayanan and M Sundar during the hearing of a plea seeking implementation of the ECI's direction for registration of an FIR over the alleged distribution of money among voters of the R K Nagar assembly constituency in run up to the suspended April 12 bypoll. The plea by advocate M P Vairakkannan sought a direction to the state chief electoral officer to implement the ECI's April 18 order to the returning officer of the R K Nagar constituency to file a complaint with police for the alleged bribing of voters. Advocate Vairakkannan also sought expeditious probe into the case and filing of the charge sheet against those involved in money distribution. When the matter came up for hearing, the division bench asked the ECI to file a copy of its April 18 report based on which the FIR was filed. It also directed the 'E2 Abiramapuram Police' to submit the case dairy in the above regard. The bench recorded the undertaking of the ECI counsel and the police that they will furnish the above documents.
It then posted the matter for further hearing to June 23. Duraiswamy, counsel for the petitioner, argued that in the FIR filed, there were no names in the column of accused. On his part, the counsel for ECI, Niranjan Rajagopal, submitted that "based on our report, FIR was filed in the month of April itself and the investigation is on." The matter figured in the state assembly today with Leader of Opposition M K Stalin (DMK) and Congress members raising the issue of EC asking the state CEO to lodge a police case for allegedly bribing the voters of the constituency in north Chennai. Responding to the issue, Chief Minister K Palaniswami said a case had been registered and the investigation was on. The April 12 bypoll, which was necessitated following the death of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa last December, was subsequently rescinded by the EC over the allegations of large-scale distribution of money to voters. The issue of EC's directive came to the fore after a copy of its response to a plea under the Right to Information Act was circulated to the media yesterday. The election commission said it had directed the state CEO on April 18 to ask the R K Nagar returning officer to file a complaint with police in connection with the alleged bribing of voters.
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