Kolkata, April 6: An Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and four VVPATs were found at a Trinamool Congress leader's ( TMC ) residence in Uluberia Uttar of Howrah district in West Bengal where polling is underway in the third phase, covering 31 seats. According to the reports, the machine was found at TMC leader Gautam Ghosh's residence in Tulsiberia.
The Sector Officer said that he was unaware of how the machine was moved out from the polling booth. According to the EC, Tapan Sarkar, sector officer of Sector 17 in AC 177 Uluberia Uttar at Howrah district, went with reserved EVM and slept at a relative's house. It was a reserved EVM that has been removed from the election process.
"This is a gross violation of EC's instructions for which he has been suspended and charges will be framed for major punishment. The said EVM and VVPAT have been taken out of the stock and shall not be used in the polls. Severe action will be taken against all involved," read an EC statement.
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Meanwhile, the Election Commission has suspended three officials. DM and District Election Officer, Howrah, said that Sarkar, Sanjib Majumdar, Mithun Chakraborty were suspended for gross violation of ECI guidelines by taking reserve EVMs to their relatives' house. The poll body said that it was a reserved EVM which has been removed from the election process.
Uluberia Uttar is an assembly constituency in Howrah district. The seat is reserved for SC. Voting for 31 assembly seats in West Bengal is currently underway in the third phase.
Union Minister Prakash Javadekar demanded a full enquiry after electronic voting machines (EVM) and voter-verifiable paper audit trails (VVPAT) were recovered from a TMC leader's residence in West Bengal's Howrah on Tuesday ahead of the third phase of state Assembly polls.
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Briefing the media persons, Javadekar said, "Today is the third phase of polling in West Bengal. And yet, another TMC attempt has been exposed. Last night in Uluberia, from the residence of TMC leader Gautam Ghosh, four VVPATs and EVMs were found and confiscated. Machines were brought by car, which was on election duty."
"It is more serious because today is voting. EC has taken action not to use those machines and suspend the officer. But this may be a bigger thing than it seems. So we demand that there should be a full inquiry of these VVPATs and EVMs found in his house," added the union minister.