Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Tuesday appointed three special officers to review the electoral rolls in Shivajinagar, Chickpet and Mahadevapura Assembly constituencies in the wake of allegations of voter data theft involving the NGO Chilume Educational Cultural and Rural Development Trust. Priyanka Mary Francis will review the lists in Shivajinagar, Dr R Vishal in Chickpet and Ajay Nagbhushan in Mahadevapura.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) had earlier directed the chief electoral officer (CEO) of Karnataka to involve recognised political parties during the verification process.
“CEO Karnataka is directed to involve the recognised political party at each step of the SSR (Special Summary Revision) activities and provide them with the Assembly Constituency wise lists of all details that have been placed since the last final publication of the Electoral Roll as per the extant guidelines. CEO Karnataka is also directed to personally supervise and coordinate the above measures being put in place,” the ECI said on November 25.
BBMP chief commissioner Tushar Giri Nath said, “The last date for submitting objections and claims for special revision of the list in these constituencies has been extended till December 24.”
Nath also asked revenue officers to cooperate with the regional commissioner, Bengaluru, Amlan Biswas, who is tasked by the ECI to investigate the scam.
BBMP Officers and Employees’ Welfare Association sought anticipatory bail for 15 revenue officials who are likely to be arrested. On November 28, the association handed over a letter to Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai for intervention.
Sharing the letter with The Indian Express, A Amruth Raj, president of the association, said, “Many senior officials have complained that they have been dragged into the controversy. We are seeking anticipatory bail for 15 revenue officials. Voter deletion was done following the standard operating procedure (SOP) laid down by the ECI. The officials have done nothing wrong. Duplicate voters were deleted after verification. The police and agencies investigating the matter are inflicting mental torture on the revenue officials through questioning and notices.”
The Congress earlier this month alleged the NGO Chilume was collecting voters’ data and this information was misused by the state government, violating ECI norms. Besides, the Congress said the deletion of lakhs of voter names occurred, along with the collection of personal details including phone numbers, and email IDs, raising privacy concerns.