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Telangana govt suspends 'Vikarabad collector' for tinkering with EVMs

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Hyderabad: The state government on Saturday suspended Vikarabad collector Syed Omar Jaleel following a direction from the Election Commission of India for his alleged involvement in opening 120 EVMs used for the Assembly elections even as a case was pending regarding the poll before the High Court.

The EC had on Friday directed Chief Secretary S.K. Joshi to place the official under suspension by the evening and initiate disciplinary proceedings as he had violated its orders. The EC had directed district election officers that EVMs and VVPATs be kept in safe custody in constituencies where election petitions had been filed till their final disposal by the High Court.

Accordingly, Mr Joshi issued orders suspending Mr Jaleel.

Ranga Reddy collector D.S. Lokesh Kumar has been given additional charge of the Vikarabad district.

Congress candidate G. Prasad, who faced defeat in the recent polls, had approached the HC alleging irregularities in the conduct of elections.

When it became known that the official had opened the strong rooms where the EVMs were stored, he and other Congress leaders met Chief Electoral Officer Rajat Sharma demanded action on Mr Jaleel.

The EC called for an explanation from the collector. He said he was not aware of the case in the High Court. The reply did not satisfy the EC.

After the EC’s order, the Congress sought an inquiry into the alleged breaking of seals and removal of the VVPAT slips from EVMs in the Jubilee Hills Assembly constituency.
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