India's chief election commissioner said some police officials had tried to sabotage the recently completed elections in Kashmir, reports said Friday.
"At one stage, there was a plan to release all ex-militants who had surrendered so that they could infiltrate the electorate," commissioner J. M. Lyngdoh told an Indian television channel, referring to captured Islamic rebels.
"But we nipped it in the bud. Our chaps identified all the militants, got all their details and firmly immured them," Lyngdoh said.
Observers believed he was implying the militants would have been forced to cast ballots for the National Conference, the party which has dominated politics in Kashmir for decades but which was thrown out of power in the Sept 16-Oct 8 legislative assembly poll.
Asked what would have been the effect if the plan was not detected, Lyngdoh said that there would not have been normal results.
To a specific question as to whether he meant there was an attempt to sabotage free and fair elections, he replied: "There was".
Asked whether the entire state government was involved in it, he said, "Not everybody in the state government. There were a few people basically in the police".
Asked whether then Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah knew about it, Lyngdoh said: "They were doing things which could have helped him".
When pressed on whether Abdullah was in the know, he said, "I would not know."
Ghulam Nabi Azad, the chief of India's main Opposition Congress, has demanded a high-level probe into Lyngdoh's revelations.
"Any conspiracy orchestrated by an individual or a section of administration would have altered the situation in the state," Azad was quoted on Friday.
He said it could have had "national and international ramifications as the entire world was watching the state assembly election".
"Whomsoever big person involved in the conspiracy should be exposed and action must be taken against him by holding a high level inquiry into the reports either by a Supreme Court or a high court judge", he said.
The head of the previous government, however, has challenged the commissioner, J. M. Lyngdoh, to substantiate his remarks or face legal action.