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Senior official to be suspended over EVM stealing row

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Amidst the row over stealing of voting machines that erupted in Uttar Pradesh two days ahead of counting, a senior administration official of Varanasi will be suspended in connection with the case.

The Election Commission of India has ordered action against Varanasi Additional District Magistrate NK Singh over the violation of rules in transportation of training EVMs. The city police commissioner has also admitted to lapses in the transportation of the EVMs.

In a statement, Singh’s boss, District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma, said the official who is now suspended had taken out the EVMs the night before they were scheduled to be transported, without informing anyone.

The opposition Samajwadi Party had earlier accused the government of “stealing the election” after a truck carrying voting machines was intercepted by party workers in Varanasi.

The party had tweeted a video of Varanasi’s Commissioner Deepak Agarwal conceding there were “lapses”.

Agarwal, however, did not specify the lapses and maintained that the machines in question were meant for training purposes.

“If you talk about the protocol for the movement of EVMs, there was a lapse in the protocol, I accept that. But I can guarantee you, it is impossible to take away machines used in voting,” he was heard saying in the video.

Sharing the video on Twitter, the Samajwadi Party had said it was an admission that protocol was not followed.

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