The Madras High Court today asked a top police officer to monitor the ongoing probe into the case of electoral malpractices in run up to the April 12 bypoll in RK Nagar assembly constituency, leading to its cancellation. A bench of justices M Sathyanarayanan and N Seshasayee directed the city's joint police commissioner (East) to file a status report on the probe by August 23, the next date of hearing of the matter. The bench gave the direction while hearing a plea by advocate M P Vairakkannan.
It also asked the Election Commission counsel Nirajan Rajagopalan to file the poll panel's counter-affidavit to the probe status report. The petitioner had sought the court's direction for lodging a First Information Report on electoral malpractices in RK Nagar, where the April 12 bypoll had to be rescinded by the EC over the alleged use of money power to buy votes. The EC had informed the court on June 19 that an FIR had been registered in April itself based on its report on the electoral malpractices in the constituency. The FIR had been lodged against unnamed persons on a complaint by the Returning Officer of the constituency. During the previous hearing on June 23, the court had asked the government to explain as to why names figuring in the EC and IT Department reports on the alleged bribing of RK Nagar assembly segment voters were not mentioned in the FIR. Today also, when the matter came up for hearing, Justice Sathyanarayanan asked the state advocate general why the names mentioned by the EC were not shown in the FIR. The petitioner, who had accessed the relevant information of the case under the transparency law has sought a direction to the police to probe the matter and file a chargesheet for the commission of offence punishable under the IPC. He has alleged that the Election authorities "are shielding the offenders for political reason." During the previous hearing, the court, after perusing the status report from the EC and the case diary of the police, had said the Income Tax report mentioned several names while the EC report had three particular names. It had said none of the names were there in the FIR with the column for the names of accused left blank. In his response, the Attorney General had said these were the slips which were seized at the time of the raid conducted by the IT department and that investigation was underway.
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