Kerala’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Teeka Ram Meena, who is cracking down on bogus voting, on Friday said that he has detected more such incidents, including in the assembly seat held by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Vijayan represents the Dharmadam assembly constituency, which comes under the Kannur Lok Sabha constituency.
Addressing the media in Thiruvananthapuram, Meena said that a probe by the Kannur District Collector has revealed that nine people fraudulently voted 12 times at Taliparambu and one at the Dharmadam assembly constituencies, both under the Kannur constituency.
“At the polling booth in Taliparambu, the poll officials in the booth failed to act and hence apart from the nine bogus voters who will be charged in a criminal case, the three poll officials in the booth will also be charged. Likewise, at the Dharmadam polling booth, it has been found out that one person (Sayooj) has cast a bogus vote and he got help from another person and cases would be filed against the person who helped Sayooj,” he said.
“This is a cancer… from what we have found out is that it is there in some parts of the state and our role is to see that this cancer does not spread to other parts and hence we are taking strong action,” the CEO added.
Acting tough, Meena, in the past 10 days, has directed police to register criminal cases against around 20 people, including three women, who indulged in bogus voting.
Meena also said that he has asked state police chief Loknath Behra to complete the probe into allegations of foul play in postal ballots of police officials posted outside their home districts and submit the final report before May 15.
In a related development, Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala told the media on Friday that he is filing a petition in the Kerala High Court against the foul play in the postal ballots.
“When I brought this first to the attention of Behra, he dismissed it… when the media raked it up, he ordered a preliminary probe and found what I said to be true. Now that this has been confirmed, a probe under Behra wouldn’t help to bring out the truth and hence I am approaching the court to see that justice is delivered. We demand that the entire postal ballot process should start afresh and there is still time for it,” he said.