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CCTVs in 2 Nagpur strongrooms housing EVMs not working: Patole


Press Trust of India Nagpur
Congress candidate from the Nagpur Lok Sabha seat Nana Patole Thursday claimed CCTV cameras installed in two strongrooms housing Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) here were not working, a charge rejected by the local returning officer.
Union minister Nitin Gadkari is the BJP's candidate from the seat which will vote in the first phase of polling on April 11.
Addressing a press conference here, Patole released two videos, one of which purportedly showed that cameras installed in a strongroom housing EVMs were not working.
"The cameras of the strongroom where EVMs are kept should be functioning fully. However, if see the LED screen of the strongroom it does not reflect that the cameras are functioning and the EVM machines are under surveillance.
"Hence, we have submitted a complaint to the Election Commission (EC), the Maharashtra State Election Commission and the election officer (of Nagpur )," he said.
Patole also claimed a router (a device that connects a local network to Internet) of a leading private telecom company can also been seen in the strongroom.
"We have come before the media so that cognisance of this issue is taken fast and election is conducted in a transparent manner," the Congress leader said.
However, there was no video of the second strongroom, where according to Patole, CCTV cameras were not working.
The second video purportedly shows a truck in which EVMs have been kept and the vehicle is painted with colours found in the BJP flag, he said.
"It cannot be ruled out that the truck belongs to the BJP," the Congress leader said.
Patole claimed rules are being flouted and those in power are misusing their authority.
When contacted, Nagpur district collector and returning officer Ashwin Mudgal told PTI that they have received the Congress's complaint.
However, Mudgal clarified that no such thing has happened and maintained opening and closely protocol related to strongrooms were being followed properly.
"CCTV cameras were functional. Due to technical reasons display in two screens were closed. There is a very tight security arrangement in strongroom premises.
"There is an electricity back-up facility in case of a shutdown. We have all the CCTV footage," he said.
Mudgal said a detailed inquiry will be carried out into the Congress's complaint.
A separate inquiry will also be held to find out who took the video recording of LED screen not functioning and what was their intention, he said.
Action will be taken against those found guilty, Mudgal said.
Earlier in the day, the Congress filed a complaint with returning officer Mudgal against Gadkari and Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, accusing them of violating the model code of conduct.
Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe lodged the complaint which related to a rally held on March 25 when Gadkari, accompanied by Fadnavis, submitted his nomination form.
Londhe claimed the model code of conduct prohibits addressing a gathering, which has assembled at the time of submitting nomination papers, using loudspeakers.
The scope of such gatherings is limited and they are not treated as public rallies, he said.
"On March 25, first Fadnavis and thereafter Gadkari delivered campaign speeches by using loudspeaker in front of thousands of people called there only to be part of rally for submission of nomination form, and not for a public meeting.
"It amounts to violation of the model code of conduct," Londe alleged and demanded strict legal action Gadkari and Fadnavis.

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First Published: Mar 28 2019 | 10:16 PM IST

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