Amid heated poll campaigns and complaints from almost all quarter on cash distribution in R K Nagar Assembly constituency, Ram M Sundaram had a quick word with Returning Officer Praveen P Nair. Excerpts:
Several candidates, including TTV Dhinakaran and E Madhusudanan, have undervalued their assets in affidavits. What is your response to allegations of approving them without cross-checking details?
There is a clear Election Commission instruction that you cannot verify them. Scrutiny does not mean detailed verification of their truthfulness. It relates only to check if all columns are filled and necessary details are disclosed.
How many complaints on cash distribution has the Election Commission received in RK Nagar till date?
Till Wednesday afternoon, the election cell has received 558 complaints, all of which were acted upon by 57 flying squads and static surveillance teams. A total of 107 FIRs were filed and 43 arrests made. Nearly `13 lakh was seized from 15 people arrested on Tuesday.
What efforts are being taken to stop cash distribution ?
As District Election Officer D Karthikeyan announced earlier, eight companies of paramilitary forces are already on poll duty and two more companies will join them. Appointing additional poll observers is EC’s decision and the present strength is working round-the-clock to prevent cash distribution.
There are rumours on social media that EVMs brought in from UP might have been tampered. Your response?
There is nothing wrong with the electronic voting machines. All of them are fine. Names and symbols of all candidates were fixed on EVMs today in the presence of the candidates or their representatives. They can check if all the buttons are working and whether there is any damage. All these processes were recorded.
Your reply to calls from certain political parties to postpone bypolls as cash distribution continues unabated.
I would not like to comment on this.