BJP candidate Jagadev held for EVM vandalism

Police are also investigating an alleged provocative speech of Jagadev which he made a few days before the third phase of polls.
 Prasanta Kumar Jagadev
Prasanta Kumar JagadevPhoto | Express

BHUBANESWAR: Police have arrested BJP leader and party’s MLA candidate from Khurda Assembly segment Prasanta Kumar Jagadev for allegedly damaging an electronic voting machine (EVM) and manhandling polling officers at a booth in Bolagarh under Bhubaneswar parliamentary constituency during voting on Saturday.

ADG Law and Order Sanjay Kumar, said Jagadev was booked under various sections of IPC, Representation of People Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act. “The CCTV footage of the booth is being examined and further action will be taken accordingly. The chargesheet in the case will be filed at the earliest,” said Kumar.

Police said Jagadev was arrested as there is clear evidence against him of creating ruckus inside polling booth - 114 at Kaunripatana upper primary school in Bolagarh which comes under Begunia Assembly constituency. Jagadev had visited the booth in Kaunripatana to cast his vote and stayed there for quite some time before creating trouble, they said.

The BJP leader is accused of kicking the table on which the EVM was kept due to which the ballot unit fell down. During the altercation, there was an error in the control unit and new sets of EVM had to be deployed after which voting restarted.

In the webcasting system at the polling booth, Jagadev can be seen manhandling a woman polling staff and the presiding officer. The polling process was disrupted for some time because of his actions, said police.

DIG Awinash Kumar, who is discharging duties as Khurda SP for the ongoing polls, said Jagadev has been sent to judicial custody till June 7.

Police are also investigating an alleged provocative speech of Jagadev which he made a few days before the third phase of polls.

“The video of Jagadev’s public address is doing rounds on social media. Efforts are on to obtain it and ascertain whether he threatened police or made any other provocative statement,” the ADG said.

However, Jagadev’s supporters claimed the allegations levelled against him are politically motivated.

This is not the first time that Jagadev is in news for wrong reasons. In 2022, when he was with BJD, he had rammed an SUV into a crowd largely comprising BJP workers in the Banapur area of Khurda district.

Following the incident, he was arrested and later expelled from BJD.

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