Election Commission cancels poll in Vellore Lok Sabha constituency after huge cash haul 

Team Suno Neta Tuesday 16th of April 2019 07:58 PM
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New Delhi: The Election Commission has cancelled polling in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore Lok Sabha constituency, on Tuesday. This development comes after a total of ₹11.5 crore in cash was allegedly recovered from a Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam candidate’s house and other places towards the end of March through the first week of April. Voting for the Vellore seat was scheduled to take place along with 38 other seats in the state in the second phase of the election, on Thursday.

The constituency had 23 candidates fighting for the seat.

Shefali Saran, the spokeswoman for the Election Commission, in a statement, said, “Accepting the recommendation of the Election Commission dated April 14, 2019, the president has rescinded the election to Vellore parliamentary constituency, Tamil Nadu.”

The Election Commission, in its order cancelling the voting for Vellore, said: “The commission is fully satisfied that the current electoral process in Vellore parliamentary constituency in Tamil Nadu has been seriously vitiated on account of unlawful activities of certain candidates and some members/workers of a political party and in the commission’s considered opinion, allowing the current electoral process to proceed and conducting the poll in the said constituency on 18th April 2019, as scheduled, in such a vitiated atmosphere would severely jeopardize the conduct of free and fair election in said constituency.”

Following the cash haul, the Tamil Nadu Police had filed a complaint against the DMK candidate, Kathir Anand, along with two other DMK men based on the report of the income-tax department. Kathir Anand is the son of senior DMK leader Durai Murugan.

Officials from the I-T department, on March 30, had conducted searches at Durai Murugan’s residence in Vellore over suspected stockpiling of cash for using in the election and seized ₹10.50 lakh. Durai Murugan, however, said he didn’t hide anything and rather questioned the timing of the raid and alleged it was a “conspiracy” by certain political leaders. On April 1, ₹11.53 crore from a cement warehouse belonging to a DMK leader’s associate in the same district.

Raids were also conducted conducted on the premises of other prominent DMK leaders. On Tuesday, a joint team of I-T and Election Commission officials visited the Tuticorin house of M Kanimozhi, saying they wanted to verify allegations that “lots of cash was stashed on the first floor of the house”. Kanimozhi is the sister of DMK chief MK Stalin.

Media reports quoting a senior I-T said the cash was shifted from Kingston College belonging to Durai Murugan Educational Trust in Vellore to the cement warehouse in the intervening night between March 29 and March 30.

Reacting to the development, the DMK said the Election Commission action amounted to “murder of democracy”.




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