Accused of using Whatsapp to seek votes on the basis of caste

The police have registered three First Information Reports (FIR) against Congress candidate B. Janardhana Poojary and BJP candidate Nalin Kumar Kateel for violation of the model code of conduct in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections in Dakshina Kannada constituency.

Of the three, Mr. Poojary has been booked in two cases.

Responding to queries from reporters on Sunday, Additional Deputy Commissioner and Additional Returning Officer B. Sadashiv Prabhu said two cases pertained to the alleged use of Whatsapp, a mobile messaging application, to seek votes on the basis of caste – by both the Congress and the BJP candidates.

These have been booked under the Information Technology Act, 2010, by police.

The third FIR was filed against Mr. Poojary on March 18 at Mangalore North Police Station for his assurances of not increasing property tax for residents of the city, said Mr. Prabhu.

Another two complaints are in various stages of inquiry against the two candidates. While Mr. Kateel was sent a notice on March 28 for allegedly “spreading malicious statements” about Minister of Health and Family Welfare U.T. Khader, that he influenced Bangalore Development Authority’s decision to allot a plot to his brother’s trust in Bangalore.

Mr. Poojary was served a notice on Saturday for allegedly promising Brahmins reservation if elected to power, which amounts to a violation of the model code of conduct.

Officials said if found guilty, a report would be sent to the Election Commission who will decide the quantum of punishment – which is usually in the form of a penalty.

In all, a total of 56 complaints — 38 of code of conduct violations and 18 from the Excise Department of alcohol seizures — had been reported, said Mr. Prabhu.

Of these, apart from the three FIRs against the candidates, eight have been booked for cash seizures, which total to Rs. 14.17 lakh. Documentation was being awaited in the other cash seizures, said Mr. Prabhu. In a related development, on Saturday, nearly 27 litres of alcohol, being stored illegally in the form of satchets, at Montepadavu, was seized said Assistant Commissioner, Mangalore sub-division, R. Prashant.

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