Manipur CEO rejects NPF’s allegation of EVMs tampering

Correspondent IMPHAL, Apr 14 | Publish Date: 4/14/2019 12:42:00 PM IST

Manipur chief electoral officer (CEO) Sunday rejected Naga People’s Front (NPF) Manipur unit’s allegation of EVM tempering.

NPF, in its complaint, alleged that three strong rooms at Churachandpur DC office storing sealed EVMs for three Assembly segments -Saikot, Singngat and Churachandpur- were opened and tampered on Saturday.

Polling to the Outer Manipur (ST) Parliamentary Constituency, spread over 10 hill districts and three valley districts, was held on April 11 with a record overall voter turnout of 84.21%.

All the EVMs used in casting votes have been deposited at the strong of rooms of each district headquarters after sealed.

Addressing a hurriedly called news conference at his office, state CEO PK Singh admitted opening of the strong rooms but denied any malpractices.

He said that all procedures mandatory for opening an EVM store strong room were followed strictly. 

He further rejected an allegation of breaking the padlock that locked the strong rooms, adding  that all authorised agents of candidates in the fray were present. Video recording was also done during the entire process of opening the strong rooms, he further stated.

He affirmed the strong rooms were opened only to take out some documents which would be used by the RO for scrutiny purposes and which were also stored in the strong rooms. However, he had directed the RO and other concerned officials of the Churachandpur DC to submit a detail report of opening the strong room and the procedures followed while doing so.

The EVMs were brought to the strong rooms by concerned Presiding Officers from their respective polling stations and kept in the strong rooms after they were sealed in front of representatives of all candidates.

The EVMs which are sealed and kept in strong rooms should be opened only on the day of counting, and no one is authorised to open the strong rooms until the day of counting. The opening of the strong rooms was amidst the growing suspicion of manipulating the EVMs, NPF Manipur unit president Awangbow Newmai alleged. 

A spot enquiry carried out by the NPF chief agent who was present while sealing the EVMs before they were kept in the strong rooms found the same rooms open, he claimed. 

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