CB to probe role of nodal officers, chiefs of units in postal vote scam

The move to include the nodal officers under the probe’s purview comes against the backdrop of DGP Loknath Behera’s instructions to them earlier to ensure fair ballot

Published: 11th May 2019 05:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th May 2019 05:12 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Crime Branch team probing the postal ballot scam will investigate whether the nodal officers entrusted with the task of distributing the postal votes and the units chiefs had shirked their responsibilities. Before the election, State Police Chief Loknath Behera had issued a circular in which he stated the nodal officers should be responsible for coordinating the activities to ensure the postal voting of police personnel. It was also mentioned the unit chiefs were responsible for ensuring the personnel use their postal ballots in a fair and fearless manner. It has been assessed both the objectives were not met and hence the probe will cover the angles such as whether the police personnel were arm-twisted or intimidated to part with their ballots and the unit chiefs were also party to the fraud.

Meanwhile, the probe so far has revealed the scam was carried out by overlooking the circular issued by Behera on April 11. The circular, which dealt with various aspects of postal voting, had made it clear the used postal votes should not be taken from individuals. The circular also stated the ballots had to be directly sent to the returning officer. It was these directives that were grossly ignored.

A senior police officer said the circular was issued after allegations cropped up that the postal votes in the department were to be misused. “After the allegation came up, a circular was issued to make the cops feel the seriousness of the issue. Yet, certain people chose to overlook the circular.”

Meanwhile, the investigators have come to the conclusion the voice clip that was reportedly sent by India Reserve Battalion commando Vaisakh was authentic.“Our preliminary assessment is that it was his voice. It was based on this observation a case was registered against him and he was suspended,” said an officer.
Top police sources said the evidence against four other policemen, who are under the cloud of suspicion, will be collected and if there are enough hints to implicate them, action will be taken against them also.

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