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Muallungthu polling official suspended

Voters casting their votes during Muallungthu repoll on Friday

Aizawl: Lalremmawia Colney, Deputy Director of Agriculture department, performing his duty as presiding officer at Muallungthu polling station within Aizawl South-3 assembly constituency was suspended and departmental proceeding was initiated against him.

An official order issued by state Secretary for Agriculture C. Lalzahngoa on Saturday said that departmental proceedings against Colney are contemplated  for alleged breach of official duty and fabrication of documents at Muallungthu polling station of Aizawl South-3 assembly constituency.

The order said that departmental proceedings are initiated against Colney in accordance with the instuction of the Election Commission of India on Friday. Colney was placed under under suspension with immediate effect. He is not allowed to leave Aizawl without obtaining prior permission of the competent authority during the pendency of the proceedings against him.

Polling was conducted on November 7 to elect 40-members of the Mizoram legislative assembly across the state by 8,57,063-strong electorate in 1,276 polling stations. Excepting reports of defective electronic voting machines and VPPAT in some polling stations the polling ended peacefully.

However, it was discovered that there were some serious lapses in Muallungthu polling station on polling day (November 7) resulting in the central poll panel instructing conduct of re-polling in the polling station.

State election department officials said that mock poll was conducted by polling officials and election agents to ensure that the EVM to be used for the polling ran smoothly. 

When polling began at 7 AM, the EVM used for mock poll was used when electors casted their votes without deletion of votes already polled in the mock poll, the officials said.

The presiding officer Lalremmawia Colney, when finding that more votes have been polled in the EVM than the number of votes in the register of voters of the polling station, rather than informing higher authorities, reportedly resorted to cover-up the unintentional lapse by adding names of more voters and by forging signatures of the ‘additional’ voters.

When the matter was discovered by the election department authorities, it was forwarded to the ECI and the ECI in turn not only instructed for a re-poll, but also directed the state government to initiate departmental proceedings against Colney for alleged breach of official duty and fabrication of documents in the Muallungthu polling station.

Re-polling in the polling station was undertaken on Friday (November 10). 

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