The Kerala Police on Monday told the state High Court that there was “no merit” in Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala’s allegations of irregularities in the postal ballots of service personnel during the Lok Sabha elections in the state on April 23, PTI reported.
In his public interest litigation plea, Chennithala has alleged that the “pro-government” office-bearers of the police association collected the postal ballots of personnel on poll duty through intimidation, and exercised their franchise by proxy against their wishes.
“There is absolutely no merit in the allegations and the matter had been enquired and investigated as per the direction of the Chief Electoral Officer under the supervision of the state police chief,” said the police.
Last week, the Election Commission told the court that Chennithala’s plea was not maintainable since courts were barred from hearing such petitions during the election process, The Hindu reported. The poll panel pointed out that an election petition on the matter can be filed in the election tribunal after results are declared on May 23.
The Congress leader has urged the court to direct the Election Commission to appoint an inquiry commission and launch criminal prosecution against those directly or indirectly involved in the alleged act of rigging. His petition will be next heard on June 10.
Independent candidates Sajjad Hussain and Asgar Ali Karbalai in Jammu and Kashmir’s Leh district have also alleged malpractice in the electronic postal ballot system. According to them, the commanding officers of the Army’s 14 Corps asked soldiers for their voting preferences over the phone instead of providing them the ballot paper to cast their vote on May 6. The district election officer wrote to the Army on May 10 based on their ccomplaints. A defence spokesperson, however, dismissed the allegation.