A state government officer, who was deputed as a sector magistrate for the Varanasi Lok Sabha polls, and his son have been booked under the Representation of the People Act after the latter took photographs of themselves with the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) that his father was allotted on the eve of polls and uploaded these on Facebook.
According to reports, a day before the Varanasi polls, Awadesh Kumar Srivastava, a divisonal audit officer in the Rural Engineering Department, was given charge of two additional EVMs, to be used as replacements if any EVM in his area developed a snag. Srivastava reportedly took the EVMs home, instead of keeping them in the allotted sector headquarters as required.
Srivastava’s son, Gaurav, an engineering student, is reported to have clicked photographs of himself and his father with the EVMs. He uploaded these photographs on Facebook, with the comment “Ab ki baar, Modi Sarkar”.
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The issue was brought to the notice of the Election Commission by AAP supporters, who alleged that Srivastava took the EVMs home for tampering. The Varanasi administration, however, said the EVMs were not used for polling. As the photographs went viral, senior SP leaders were also informed.
Varanasi DM Pranjal Yadav ordered a probe into the case. Following a preliminary inquiry by Varanasi Additional District Magistrate A K Awasthi, the Deputy Election Officer for the district, Srivastava reportedly accepted that he took the EVMs home.
“After his acceptance, it was confirmed that he was at fault. On the basis of these findings, I have lodged an FIR against him and his son. Both the EVMs have been sealed and handed over to the police,” said Awasthi.
Awasthi said a detailed investigation would be conducted and a team of experts from the EC’s office would check whether any attempts had been made to tamper with the EVMs. Meanwhile, the police have summoned both Srivastava and Gaurav for questioning on Friday.