KANNUR: The Assistant Returning Officers (ARO) have started an investigation into the complaint that LDF workers had resorted to organised and widespread bogus voting in various polling booths in the district during polling. The probe follows the orders issued in this regard by District Collector Mir Muhammad Ali.
The order was issued on the basis of the complaint lodged by K Surendran, chief election agent of UDF candidate K Sudhakaran. In his complaint, Surendran alleged the LDF workers had done bogus voting through impersonation and multiple voting by one person.
Meanwhile, it is said the Collector had asked the complainants to adduce more evidence to substantiate the allegations if there are in possession of them. The complaint was against 199 persons from four Assembly constituencies in the Kannur LS seat. Of these, 22 persons are from Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s Dharmadam constituency. It is also alleged that one of the persons alleged to have done bogus voting is a minor girl, a close relative of a leader hailing from the region, with a strong connection with the chief minister. The Congress had also complained that the vote of a father was cast by his son and that of a brother by his younger brother.
The UDF has complained against 35 persons from Peravur constituency. In Taliparamba constituency, the Congress has complained against 77 persons for bogus voting of which 17 are women. They also allege a person who is a minor had polled the votes of two persons, that of Vijay of booth number 193 and that of E V Akshay of booth number 192. As per the UDF complaint, Jinith Panachikkal had polled five votes including his own vote. In Mattannur, UDF had levelled bogus voting charge against 65 persons. According to it, there were ladies who had voted four times. The Collector had asked UDF to submit hard evidence against these people if they are in possession of any.
The Collector will serve notice on those who are alleged to have done bogus voting, presiding officer and election officer as and when he receives the report from the AROs.
He will meet them personally and record their statement regarding the issue and will file a report to the CEO. The Election Commission will take a final decision on the issue based on CEO Teeka Ram Meena’s report.
The bogus voting issue in Kannur has come alive again as criminal was taken against 10 persons on Saturday. Cases were registered against nine IUML workers and one CPM cadre.
Mir Muhammad Ali has submitted his report in connection with the bogus voting in Pamburuthi and it contains incriminating references about the serious lapses on the part of the presiding officer, polling officer and micro observer at Pamburuthi AUP School.