In a VVPAT malfunction case in Dwarka reported by voter Milan Gupta, the ECI has demanded a detailed report from the Chief Electoral Officer of Delhi.
The Lok Sabha election phase six took place in Delhi on 12th May, Sunday. It was the first time VVPATs (voter verifiable paper audit trail) were used across Delhi for polling. It was around 4 p.m. in Delhi’s Matiala assembly segment, when 40-year-old Milan Gupta, a managing consultant, allegedly noticed a malfunction in his voting machine regarding which ECI has demanded a report from Ranbir Singh, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Delhi.
In a long Twitter thread, Milan Gupta wrote, “My VVPAT machine (Delhi, Matiala, booth 96) printed the wrong symbol although the EVM machine red bulb glowed correctly. I complained to the presiding officer who directed me to nodal officer who then directed me to sector officer. All of them asked me not to complain. I insisted. They told me I’d be arrested under IPC section 177.”
“The officer kept saying that this is not possible… I filed the complaint in the format of ‘form of declaration by the elector under rule 49MA of conduct of elections rules, 1961’, and agreed to do a test vote,” claimed Gupta.
If, under such declaration, the allegation is found true, “the Presiding Officer shall report the facts immediately to the Returning Officer, stop further recording of votes in that voting machine and act as per the direction that may be given by the Returning Officer”.
If a person’s allegation is found false, the form of declaration states that under section 177 (furnishing false information) of the IPC, the complainant shall be liable to imprisonment up to six months, or a fine up to Rs 1,000, or both.
Since he didn’t want to reveal his vote, he pressed a random symbol on the voting machine in front of the officers as a test vote. This time the vote and slip matched, thus rendering his allegation false. “The officer then announced that I proved myself wrong. He said, you are now going to be arrested,” Gupta tweeted.
He was then taken to Dwarka sector-9 police station where he was allegedly detained for four hours, however, he wasn’t formally arrested, and was allowed to leave later.
In a statement, DCP (Dwarka) Anto Alphonse said, “So far, we have not received a directive from the RO or a written complaint. If and when we do, action will be taken.”
Azimul Haque, the Returning Officer of West Delhi says that he is currently preparing a report on the incident to be sent to the Election Commission of India (ECI).
By Muskaan Gupta