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RO confirms malpractices during West Tripura LS poll
CORRESPONDENT
 AGARTALA, April 26 - Lending credence to the allegations levelled by Opposition parties about irregularities in the election to the West Tripura Lok Sabha seat on April 11, Returning Officer (RO) Dr Sandip Mahatme has admitted that gross irregularities marred voting in 65 polling booths of the constituency.

In his report, the RO has informed the Election Commission (EC) that no camera was installed at 20 polling booths, while cameras fell down at 15 polling booths and replacement was not made during polling for the seat.

In six polling stations, cameras were installed after 6 am while this should have been done before the polling, he stated in the report.

In six other polling booths, cameras were taken out before the polling was over and in three booths, vendors kept changing the location of cameras. In five polling booths, cameras fell down on the floor.

These malpractices took place in 65 polling booths. While video footage of less than nine hours was found in 379 booths, as per EC guidelines, video footage should be of more than nine hours. As per ARO reports, video footage of nine hours has been found in most polling booths.

Out of the total 800 complaints of booth capturing, rigging and other malpractices in the election to the West Tripura seat, the Opposition CPI(M) and the Congress had raised 700 of them.

“EC-appointed special observer Vivek Zutshi is conducting scrutiny of all the 700 complaints to finish the process as early as possible in the presence of the RO and assistant RO,” CEO Sriram Tarinikanta said.

“As per the EC instructions, all the vendors whose cameras did not work will be served notices. Some vendors have already got notices and some will get very shortly,” he said here today.

Meanwhile, scrutiny of all poll-related reports, documents and video footage of the East Tripura Parliamentary constituency has been completed where no major complaint was reported, Tarinikanta added.

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