As the Phase V Lok Sabha elections were on in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur on Monday, two EVMs and VVPATs were recovered from a hotel near a polling booth, triggering a hue and cry among booth workers.
According to sources, sector magistrate Avdesh Kumar was in-charge of 4 EVMs in Muzaffarpur, which were kept as a backup option in case any machine malfunctioned in the area.
After coming out of a polling booth in Muzaffarpur on Monday, the officer’s driver excused himself to cast his vote at a nearby polling booth. This is when Avdesh Kumar got down at a nearby hotel with the EVMs, VVPATs and a control unit.
Soon, the news of a polling officer carrying EVMs reached party agents at the polling booth. Alarmed, they raised questions and started protesting.
This led the local Sub-Divisional Officer (SDO), Kundan Kumar, to reach the hotel in Muzaffarpur. He immediately seized the EVMs and VVPATs.
Muzaffarpur District Magistrate Alok Ranjan Ghosh said, “Sector officer was given some reserved machines so that it could be replaced with faulty ones. After replacing EVMs he was left with 2 balloting units, 1 control unit and 2 VVPATs in his car.”
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Ghosh added, “He shouldn’t have unloaded the machines in the hotel which is against rules. Since he has violated the rules a departmental investigation will be done.”
The concerned officer, Avdesh Kumar, has been issued a showcause notice to justify why he took the machines to a hotel.
An estimated 57.86 per cent voter turnout was recorded on five Lok Sabha constituencies of Bihar on Monday.
The five Lok Sabha seats that witnessed voting in Bihar on Monday included Sitamarhi, Madhubani, Muzaffarpur, Saran and Hajipur (reserved).
Except for Sitamarhi, the rest four seats were won by NDA in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.