A green and black striped T-shirt worn by a poll officer, a blue-coloured window, two beams on the ceiling and the room’s floor were among “similarities” between two videos that surfaced on social media on Sunday and Monday — purportedly showing people trying to influence voters at a polling station in Faridabad Lok Sabha constituency — which helped officials probing the clips to conclude they were both from the same place, booth number 88 in Palwal’s Asaoti village.
In a complaint submitted to police regarding the second video, the Assistant Returning Officer (ARO) of the Faridabad constituency said their first lead came at the end of the clip, when “a man who looked like the sarpanch of Asaoti, Kanchind Pehelwan, could be seen coming out the door”. He said the sarpanch was summoned and he confirmed he was in the video.
“On seeing the first video and the one obtained through Twitter (the second one), some similarities were found…,” states the complaint. The ARO, in the FIR registered regarding the second video, states that the sarpanch was questioned to help “verify” that the clip was from the same booth.
“The Asaoti sarpanch said he cast his vote and came out of booth number 88… He was asked to get his voting card… but when he returned he said… his vote was in booth number 87,” states the ARO. “He then remembered that he had entered the adjacent booth by mistake and maybe this video was made at that time.”
Of the two clips, the first had surfaced on Sunday, when the constituency went to polls. It showed the BJP polling agent, Giriraj Singh, walking to the booth on three occasions, allegedly trying to influence three women voters. He was arrested Sunday and released on bail Monday, which was when the second clip went viral.
The latter showed a person thrusting his arm through the polling compartment and pointing to the machine, allegedly trying to influence the voter, identified as Mahendra. The accused, Vijay Rawat, is former president of the Yuva Rajputana Sangathan.
An FIR was registered Tuesday. “We arrested both Vijay Rawat and the presiding officer of the booth, Amit Atri. They were released on bail today,” said Kuldeep Singh, SHO of Sadar Palwal police station.
Rawat, when contacted, claimed: “I cast my vote and was leaving when Mahendra asked me for help. He is an illiterate farmer. He asked me where he had to press the button. I simply pointed it out and left,” claimed Rawat. “I am a youth politician and a BJP supporter… but I am not formally associated with it.”
Fresh polls have been scheduled for the booth on May 19.