New Delhi: The Election Commission on Tuesday suspended a Bengal poll officer after he took the EVM and VVPAT and went to sleep at the residence of a TMC leader in Uluberia of Howrah district in West Bengal. “Tapan Sarkar, sector officer of Sector 17 in AC 177 Uluberia Uttar at Howrah district, went with Reserve EVM and slept at a relative’s house. This is a gross violation of EC’s instructions for which he has been suspended and charges will be framed for major punishment”, the poll panel said, adding that the EVM and VVPAT will not be used in the polls. Also Read - Mamata's Advice Instigated People to Attack CISF: Amit Shah on Cooch Behar Violence

Furthermore, it informed that the sector police attached to the officer have also been directed to be suspended. “General Observer Neeraj Pawan has checked all seals of the EVM, which has now been stored in a separate room under the observer’s custody, the EC stated. Also Read - Cooch Behar Firing 'Genocide', Says Mamata Banerjee, Accuses EC of 'Suppressing Facts'

The incident comes as polling in 475 assembly constituencies spread across 4 states and UT— West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Puducherry is underway. Also Read - Self Defence: Cooch Behar Firing Took Place After Locals Attacked CISF Jawans, Says Election Commission

Assam EVM Row:  

A controversy had erupted after a vehicle that apparently belonged to BJP candidate Krishnendu Paul’s wife, was found transporting a polled EVM in Assam’s Karimganj district.

Paul, however, has defended himself and denied allegations of stealing the EVM, saying that his driver was in the car and he (driver) helped polling officials because they sought help. “My driver was in the car. Polling officials asked him for help and he obliged. There was a pass pasted on my car that said I am a BJP candidate. I can’t say whether the polling officials were aware of this or not. We simply helped,” he told a leading portal.