MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Election Commission has cancelled the controversial Katrani village panchayat polls in Nashik where members were selected on the basis of how much they quoted in an open auction for the 11 seats.
The Commission had earlier stayed the elections held on January 15, after reports became public that seats had been auctioned.
After a probe, the entire election process was declared cancelled on Sunday.
The Commission also decided to initiate action against persons who violated basic election principles and reduced the process to a farce.
UPS Madan, State Election Commissioner, said they had investigated the matter, seen videos of the auctioning and on the basis of a primary probe report, the election was cancelled.
“All 11 candidates of Katrani Village Panchayat had been elected unopposed through auctions. The Commission had refused to announce the results of this unopposed election,” said Madan.
“Taking note of the auction complaint, the commission sought a report from the Nashik District Collector, District Superintendent of Police and Sub-Divisional Police Officer of Manmad. The commission also separately observed conversations in various submitted documents and audio recordings.”
The official added that after further probe, legal action will be taken against the persons concerned as per Section 9-A of the IPC or other provisions of the Act.
The Commission has also sought a detailed report.In Karnataka too, the poll panel had warned of disqualifying candidates after reports of seats being auctioned in gram panchayats.