Wednesday, December 25, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Fake votes: SDM to be shifted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
The Election Commissioner, Punjab, Mr C.L. Bains, has recommended the transfer of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Mr Sukhmander Singh, from Jalalabad (West) in Ferozepore district to elsewhere immediately. Mr Bains has written a demi-official letter in this connection to the Chief Secretary, Mr Y.S. Ratra.

Mr Bains has also cancelled the electoral rolls which were published on November 29 for use in the municipal elections, which now stand postponed to March. He has ordered that the rolls be kept in safe custody for pursuing the inquiry further with regard to the enlisting of the bogus votes. The fresh preparation of electoral rolls will start in Jalalabad from January 1.

Mr Sukhmander Singh’s transfer has been recommended following the detection of bogus votes in the electoral rolls. The SDM was entrusted with the job of enlisting voters in capacity of Electoral Registration Officer.

Mr Bains, in his letter to the Chief Secretary, has stated that following the inquiry by two IAS officers, the complaints regarding the enlisting of bogus votes and non-registration of a large number of genuine ones had been found to be true. Following the inquiry, 2,000 votes had to be deleted. In addition to this, 4000 appeals have been filed, objecting to the enlisting of certain voters. Mr Bains has stated that action against those who prepared the voter lists will be taken separately.

He said for holding free and fair elections in Jalalabad, the SDM should be transferred immediately. Mr Bains has directed the Deputy Commissioner of Ferozepore not to depute the staff from the subdivision for preparing the electoral rolls afresh.

After the inquiry, Mr Alok Shekhar and Dr Roshan Sunkaria, IAS officers, have submitted reports to the Election Commission that following verification of voter lists and spot checking, a large number of irregularities were found to have been committed .

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