The Madhya Pradesh High Court Friday rejected a petition filed by Congress leader Naresh Saraf demanding a SIT probe into alleged irregularities in handling of EVM machines and security lapses in strong rooms in some districts. Votes were polled in MP on November 28.
The petition filed by Saraf on Tuesday expressed concern over alleged lack of adequate security in some districts in respect of polled/unused EVMs and VVPATs. The petition also cited alleged attempts to tamper with EVM and VVPAT machines used in Bhopal, Satna, Shajapur, Sagar and Khandwa.
The Election Commission refuted allegations and said, all necessary instructions were issued well in advance for safe upkeeping of polled EVMs, VVPATs, unused/reserved EVMs and VVPATs at the end of the poll.
On December 4, the chief election officer submitted another report to the Election Commission refuting media reports about short-term failure of CCTV cameras to a power cut in Bhopal and delay in depositing 3 unused EVMs and VVPATs in Khandwa.
After careful examination of the said reports, which were produced before the court, a bench of chief justice S K Seth and judge Vijay Kumar Shukla observed, “the strong rooms for storing polled EVMs/VVPATs and warehouses for unused/reserved EVMs/VVPATs are separate buildings with separate security arrangements. It was clear that the strong rooms with polled EVMs/VVPATs were sealed immediately after the poll to be opened on the day of counting. These strong rooms are under the security of Central Armed Paramilitary Forces with a triple cordon of security.’’
Noting that the ECI has informed the Indian National Congress, New Delhi, about remedial measures already taken, the bench disposed of the petition saying no further action is required to be taken.