Controversies surrounding Sasikala after Jayalalithaa's death

EC cancels RK Nagar bypoll

Police disburse crowd at the RK Nagar Assembly constituency in Chennai on Sunday, following a clash between two groups during the campaign.

Police disburse crowd at the RK Nagar Assembly constituency in Chennai on Sunday, following a clash between two groups during the campaign.   | Photo Credit: B. Jothi Ramalingam

The nodal officer appointed in Chennai submitted a detailed report to the Commission on Sunday.

The Election Commission, late on Sunday night, cancelled the by-election to the Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar Assembly constituency in Chennai, based on evidence of large scale bribing of voters by the ruling AIADMK (Amma) among other parties and candidates.

The apex poll body particularly highlighted the alleged role of Tamil Nadu Health Minister C. Vijaya Baskar, whose house and premises were searched by the Income-Tax Department on Friday last, in vitiating the electoral process.

 

“The Income-Tax authorities have also informed that several complaints were received recently indicating that Dr. Vijaya Baskar is the main person involved in bribing the voters in R.K. Nagar Assembly constituency which was to go to the polls on 12th April, 2017. Some loose sheets were found with his accountant Mr. Srinivasan indicating distribution of ₹89 crore to a number of politicians for further distribution among the voters,” the Election Commission’s order signed by Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and Election Commissioners O.P. Rawat and A.K. Jothi said.

Cash of ₹5 crore was seized from the associates of Dr. Vijaya Baskar and from his native place. “Incriminating documents in the form of overall money distribution charts to several leading political executives and functionaries totaling to ₹89 crore were found from the premises of Dr. Vijaya Baskar.

Further distribution charts, ward-wise and voter-wise, entrusted to each of these politician totaling to Rs. 89 crores were found and seized from the room allotted to Dr. Vijaya Baskar in the MLAs’ hostel. Further, a lot of incriminating material including voters list marking against each voter either DMK or AIADMK and amount to be paid and paid in some cases, were also found and seized,” the order noted.

Holding the entire process of the election null and void, the EC said the byelection would be held by the Commission in due course when "the vitiating effect created by the distribution of money and gift items to allure the electors... gets removed with the passage of time and the atmosphere in the constituency becomes conducive to the holding of free and fair election.”

As the Model Code of Conduct is already in place, the enforcement agencies directly report to the EC on seizures and findings which may have a bearing on free and fair conduct of the coming election.

Accordingly, the nodal officer appointed in Chennai submitted a detailed report to the Commission on Sunday.

The Chief Election Commissioner, Nasim Zaidi, and other senior EC officials examined the report and following legal consultations, decided to cancel the byelection.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 11:52:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/ec-cancels-rk-nagar-bypoll/article17899231.ece

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