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Aam Aadmi Party seeks action against officials over ‘security breach’ of EVMs in Punjab

NEW DELHI: An AAP delegation led by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday urged CEC Nasim Zaidi to act against the officials allegedly involved in a security breach in strongrooms in Punjab where EVMs were stored.

The delegation submitted a memorandum to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and said the security of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) was breached at strongrooms at several places in Punjab, including Patiala, Ludhiana and Tarn Taran.

An Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader said Zaidi had assured the delegation that necessary action would be taken in this regard.

AAP leaders H.S. Phoolka, Ashutosh and Raghav Chadha accompanied Sisodia to the CEC office.

“We highlighted major lapses in the security of EVMs seen across Punjab and also the criminal negligence on the part of Returning Officers in handling the security of EVMs kept in strong rooms,” Sisodia said.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had on Monday accused state officials of trying to move EVMs from a strongroom in Punjab where polling was held on February 4. Officials, however, denied the charge.

The memorandum submitted to the CEC read that on February 6, the Returning Officer of Gill constituency entered the premises of strongroom unaccompanied either by candidates or their representatives.

Another similar incident took place on Monday where the Returning Officer of Nabha constituency in Patiala allowed four people to enter the storage campus on the pretext of collecting certain documents. “Instead, they moved some EVMs kept in steel boxes,” it said.

“The lackadaisical approach with which the Returning Officers in Punjab are following the instruction of May 5, 2015 notification — which lists out instructions regarding the storage and safety of EVMs, merit your urgent attention,” the AAP memorandum said.

“The Office of the Chief Electoral Officer has failed to ensure compliance of Election Commission of India’s instructions regarding security of EVMs.

“It is requested that the CEO of Punjab may be directed to comply with the EVM security norms and take stringent action against the erring officials to ensure the safety of EVMs,” the memorandum added.

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