EC sole authority to probe allegations of electoral irregularities, says Meena

A day after Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai announced a probe starting from 2013 into the alleged theft of voter data by an NGO, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Karnataka Manoj Kumar Meena on Monday clarified that in case of any allegation or irregularity in electoral matters, the Election Commission (EC) was the sole authority to conduct an inquiry.

“No government can order any probe into such matters,” he said.

Following allegations by the Congress that voter data, illegally gathered by Chilume Educational Cultural and Rural Development Trust, had been used by the ruling party to tamper with electoral rolls, Mr. Bommai had announced a probe encompassing the Congress regime as well, starting from 2013.

In his statement, Mr. Meena clarified that the Central and State governments had no role to play in the preparation, maintenance of the electoral roll and conduct of elections, and therefore in case of any allegation, only the EC could probe them. He further said that the general public and media should ignore any statements to the contrary.

On caste, communities

In a separate statement, Mr. Meena said that the question of deletion of voters based on caste and community from the electoral roll did not arise. The CEO’s statement followed the Congress’s allegation that names of minorities and some other communities were deleted based on the data provided by Chilume.

“Electoral rolls do not contain any information related to caste/religion of voters and hence the question of deletion of names based on caste/community from the electoral rolls does not arise,” Mr. Meena said in a statement. Only names of people who were dead or those who had moved to other places were deleted by following due process of law, he added.

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