Raj IAS, Guj officer in dock for poll lapses

The ECI has written a letter in this regard to chief secretaries of Rajasthan and Gujarat on April 30.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has recommended disciplinary action against state revenue officer and Rajasthan cadre IAS officer, who conducted 2017 assembly election for Dholka seat, for serious "lapses" on their parts during the counting of votes. The ECI has recommended initiating of proceedings for "major penalty" against these two officers.

The ECI has written a letter in this regard to chief secretaries of Rajasthan and Gujarat on April 30. A copy of this letter was submitted to the Gujarat High Court, which had sought the Commission’s comments on glaring lapses in conducting the assembly elections in 2017.

The court’s observation came while hearing a petition moved by Congress leader Ashwin Rathod challenging the Dholka assembly constituency result, which he lost to BJP leader Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, the current education minister, by a mere margin of 327 votes.

In the letter, the ECI wrote to chief secretary, Gujarat government, “…High Court of Gujarat has observed certain lapses on the part of Dhaval Jani, Returning Officer id 58-Dholka Assembly Constituency-2017. The commission has viewed the lapses on his part seriously and directs that disciplinary proceedings be initiated for imposing major penalty against Dhaval Jani for non-compliance to Commission’s instructions during counting of vote.” The letter states that action taken should be intimated to the Commission at the earliest.

A similar letter has been written to chief secretary of Rajasthan asking to take action against IAS officer Vinita Bohra, who was an observer during the polls. The ECI has asked the chief secretary to initiate proceeding against her for “non-compliance to Commission’s instructions during counting of vote.”

In a previous hearing, High Court justice Paresh Upadhyay had directed that the ECI be made a party in the case along with Jani and Bohra. The court observed that facts are “so glaring that this court has thought it prudent to put the facts to the notice of the ECI," so that the ECI can look into it and take corrective/ preventive measures if required.

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