Two returning officers for the BMC elections filed a police complaint on Saturday, alleging they were threatened for rejecting the candidature of an AIMIM candidate in Dharavi. Maya Patole, the returning officer for wards 182 to 192 in G-North ward, which comprises Mahim and Dharavi, claimed she was sent abusive and threatening text messages on Saturday while her colleague Vinod Mudaliar also received the same messages and a phone call, which he did not receive. Paramjit Singh Dahiya, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone V, said that an FIR had been filed at Dadar police station against the caller and the sender of the text messages.
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According to Patole’s complaint, the AIMIM’s Damargidda Pushpa Balraj filed her nomination from ward 188, which is reserved for women, at the election commission’s office in Dadar at 4.59 pm on February 3, just a minute before the deadline for filing nominations was to end. When returning officer Vinod Mudaliar scanned through Balraj’s documents a few hours later, he saw she had not attached a receipt for paying the security deposit. Patole’s complaint adds that Mudaliar then rang Balraj and asked her to submit the receipt. By the time a man claiming to represent Balraj reached the election commission’s office, however, the deadline had passed.
Later that night, Patole’s complaint states, two AIMIM legislators went to the office and requested her and Mudaliar to accept the receipt. After their request was denied, Patole claims that the AIMIM MLA from Byculla, Waris Pathan, rang her to make the same plea. “He claimed we had a bias against his party. We decided not to say anything in reply,” her complaint states.
On February 4, the election commission issued a speaking order rejecting Balraj’s nomination. Balraj moved the Bombay High Court against the order, but her plea was dismissed. After this, Patole and Mudaliar received the text messages warning them of dire consequences. The Dadar police has booked the sender of the text messages with criminal intimidation, provoking breach of peace and threatening to injure a public servant.