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Madurai LS poll: HC allows collector's PA to be impleaded in plea

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Press Trust of India Chennai
The Madras High Court Tuesday allowed the personal assistant to Madurai collector to be impleaded in a plea seeking a SIT probe into the "illegal entry" into a storage room by a tehsildar.
A division bench, comprising justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad, posted the matter for further hearing to June 6.
On Saturday, the court directed the Election Commission to initiate disciplinary action or prosecution against M Rajasekaran, personal assistant (General) to Madurai district collector and two officials for allowing polling staff to enter the storage room where records of the April 18 Lok Sabha polls to the Madurai constituency are kept.
Besides the PA, the Assistant Commissioner of Police (Crime), who was in charge of election duty that day and police personnel present there reportedly allowed the woman tehsildar and three other polling staff to enter the room.
The tehsildar is now under suspension.
The court had passed the interim order on a petition filed by Su Venkatesan, the CPI(M) candidate from the Madurai Lok Sabha constituency.
The court had directed the EC to take the action on those involved as pointed out by the Inquiry Officer after it observed that "absolutely no action" was taken against the PA (General), the ACP and the policemen post the incident.
In his petition, Rajasekaran submitted the court has passed the order without hearing him, and the direction to EC to take disciplinary action against him will consequently cause irreparable loss to his future service career.
Seeking to implead him as a respondent in the CPI-M candidate's petition, he submitted as PA general to the collector he was nowhere connected with the election process and it was only PA (Elections), posted in March, who would assist the collector in the process of parliamentary election.
There was some misconception among the general public over the post of PAs. Hence, his post PA(General) was dragged into the writ proceedings by misconception, he submitted.
He further submitted that the Additional Chief Electoral officer of Tamil Nadu had not enquired him.
Meanwhile, Collector S Natarajan, who was transferred, filed a counter affidavit, stating he was not heard before the court passed its interim order.
The bench dismissed a PIL filed by an Independent candidate Pasumpon Pandian seeking cancellation of election.
According to Venkatesan, the tehsildar allegedly trespassed into the documents storage room on April 20 without any authority and remained there for three hours.
Venkatesan 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, Venkatesan had 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 also sought three-tier security for the counting centre, transfer of the returning officer and appointment of a Special Investigation Team (SIT).

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First Published: Apr 30 2019 | 10:00 PM IST

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