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HC moved over entry of polling officials into record room

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Press Trust of India Chennai
The Madras High Court has been moved seeking a probe by the Election Commission (EC) on the entry of polling staff into a storage room in Madurai where records of the April 18 Lok Sabha polls to the constituency are kept.
When a mention was made about the plea, a bench comprising justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad on Friday said it would take up the matter for hearing on Saturday.
Senior advocate N R Elango, appearing for CPI(M) candidate Su Venkatesan in the Madurai Lok Sabha constituency, wanted the court to issue a direction to the EC to set up a special investigation team (SIT) headed by an officer not below the rank of principal secretary to look into the matter.
A woman tahsildar and three other polling staff were suspended by Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo, following an inquiry on a complaint lodged by Venkatesan.
Officials have maintained that none entered the room, in which the electronic voting machines (EVMs) used in the poll were sealed and which was under 24-hour surveillance.
According to the petitioner, the tahsildar allegedly trespassed into the documents storage room on April 20 without any authority and remained there for three hours.
The petitioner has submitted that three staff members of Madurai Municipal Corporation had also accompanied her.
Alleging that the unlawful incident would not have occurred without the knowledge of District Collector Natarajan, who is the Returning Officer, he has sought an interim direction for appointment of a special observer of the rank of an IAS officer for counting the postal ballots.
Besides, the petitioner has sought three-tier security for the counting centre, transfer of the returning officer and appointment of an SIT.

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First Published: Apr 26 2019 | 10:50 PM IST

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