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Cases against 86 Kendrapara poll staff

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Reported by Vishwanath Kumar
Kendrapara, Apr 29:

Bowing to pressures from the media, public and opposition parties, the administration in Odisha’s Kendrapara district today finally registered cases against 86 government employees on charges of skipping poll duty.

“Acting on a report of negligence in carrying out general election duty, legal action is being taken against them under section-123 of Representation of the People Act, 1951,” Kendrapara Superintendent of Police, Rabi Narayan Behera said today.

The district election office had earlier informed that 109 government staffers had been served Non-bailable Warrants (NBWs) on 17 April, the day of the polling. However, since they were not taken to task ,the opposition parties had leveled allegations that the civil and police administration were playing a partisan role.

Besides it had fuelled a controversy as nearly half of the errant employees were assigned duty in the politically sensitive Mahakalpada assembly seat.

“We have received a list of 86 employees against whom the district election office has asked us to initiate legal proceedings. As per law, they would be arrested unless they manage to obtain bail from the court,” said a police official adding that they would issue arrest warrants against them in a day or two.

While 52 truant employees are from Mahakalpada assembly constituency, the rest of them are from other assembly segments.

“Though 109 persons were charged with skipping poll duty, 23 of them were found to be genuinely ill. As they produced medical certificates to substantiate the serious nature of their sickness, they were spared from legal action,” said Kendrapara Collector, Nitin Bhanudas Jawale.