CB take statements of senior staff of CEO office

Probe into complaint that voters’ list in the EC server was illegally removed

The Crime Branch (CB) has taken the statements of senior staff at the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Kerala, and seized equipment, including laptops, as part of a probe into the complaint that the voters’ list kept in the Election Commission’s server had been illegally removed.

The statements of the Joint CEO and other staff were taken by the CB. The officials reportedly informed the investigators that the electoral rolls that were removed without authorisation were kept in a different format from the one which was later published.

The Crime Branch is also probing the conspiracy angle in connection with the case.

The CB team also met senior IAS officer Teeka Ram Meena, who was the CEO at the time of the said incident, but a formal statement was not taken, a CB official said.

The complaint

On the instructions of the Election Commission of India, Joint CEO Krishnadasan P. had lodged a complaint with the CB last week saying that the voters’ list prepared for the April 6 Assembly polls had been removed illegally from the office of the CEO.

The CB had registered an FIR in this regard on July 2. The CB team led by SP Shanavas has also seized computers and hard disks from the CEO’s office as part of the investigation.

The voters’ list had been at the centre of a heated controversy ahead of the elections after the then Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala claimed, with entries from the list as proof, that it contained more than four lakh double entries. The Election Commission had later informed the Kerala High Court that it had pinpointed 38,586 demographically similar entries (DSEs) in the list.

Last week, responding to the commission’s decision to file a police complaint, Mr. Chennithala said that he had accessed the list from the commission’s website after it was published and that he was prepared to face any investigation. Instead of taking action against those responsible for the lapse, the commission is attempting to trap those who drew attention to the situation, he had said.

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