February 7, 2017 2:25:48 am
TWO DAYS after the Punjab polls, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Monday claimed that the returning officer (RO) of Gill constituency tried to ‘trespass’ into the strong rooms established at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) where EVMs have been kept. The party has claimed that RO Gagandeep Singh Virk tried to enter the premises of the strong room and that when “the volunteers of AAP intervened and requested that they should also be allowed to accompany him as there were chances of EVM tampering, the RO forced his way into the strong room by manhandling AAP volunteers.”
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AAP leader and senior Supreme Court lawyer H S Phoolka along with Gill candidate Jiwan Singh Sanghowal demanded registration of an FIR against the RO. Phoolka and Sanghowal alleged that ‘it might be possible that it was done at behest of Akalis’. “We do not know if EVMs have been tampered with or not but it is a criminal breach and we demand registration of FIR against RO.” In a tweet, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, “This officer should be immediately suspended and EC should ensure safety of all EVMs.” He said this while retweeting a tweet of an AAP volunteer which said, “Gagandeep Virk, RO of Gill constituency (Ludhiana) entered strong room with 5-7 people & dint allow any representative of party inside’. (sic)
‘Room seal intact, allegations baseless’
An enquiry team comprising ACP (west) Surinder Lamba and ADC Mahinderpal Gupta visited the spot along with AAP candidate to check CCTV footage.
In an official press release issued by election office, Ravi Bhagat, chief election officer Ludhiana, who is also deputy commissioner, said, “CCTV footage has been checked and it shows that no one entered the strong room. The allegations against Gill constituency RO by AAP have been found to be baseless. No evidence of trespass has been found and seal of the strong room was intact.”
Bhagat also announced that from Tuesday, candidates having any doubt regarding security of strong rooms can inspect the spot at 11 am with ROs.
RO Gagandeep Virk did not respond to calls and text messages.
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