After polling, EVMs & VVPAT found in Bihar hotel

The Muzaffarpur DM said that the Sector Officer was given some reserved machines so that it could be replaced with faulty ones. Image courtesy: ANI/Twitter

On a day when the Supreme Court rejected the Opposition plea to match at least 50 per cent of the VVPAT with the EVMs, two EVMs and two VVPATs were recovered from a hotel in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district.

The sector magistrate Awadhesh Kumar, who took the EVMs and VVPATs in the hotel, has been slapped with a show-cause notice by the District Magistrate of Muzaffarpur, Alok Ranjan Ghosh, asking Kumar to explain his action.

The issue came to fore shortly after polling was over in Muzaffarpur on Monday during the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections in Bihar. Muzaffarpur, along with Saran, Hajipur, Madhubani and Sitamarhi, went to polls on May 6.

As soon as the news (of official carrying EVMs and VVPAT in a hotel) spread like a wildfire, the sub-divisional officer (SDO) Kundan Kumar reached Hotel Anand in Choti Kalyani area and seized the EVMs and VVPAT.

The Muzaffarpur DM said that the Sector Officer was given some reserved machines so that it could be replaced with faulty ones. “After replacing EVMs, he was left with two balloting unit, one control unit and two VVPAT in his car,” the DM added.

Sources said that the driver of the Sector Officer expressed his desire to cast his vote “as his (driver) polling booth was on the outskirts of the town (Muzaffarpur).” As such, the Sector Officer asked his staff to take the EVMs and VVPAT in the hotel so that his driver could exercise his franchise.

As soon as locals came to know about it, there was a huge pandemonium outside the hotel. Immediately, the SDO reached there and seized the EVMs.

“Since the sector officer has indulged in an act (unloading of EVMs in the hotel) which is against the rules, departmental action will be initiated against him after a proper probe,” said the Muzaffarpur DM.

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