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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Manpreet seeks probe against Lambi poll officer

Kamaldeep Singh Brar, Hindustan Times  Muktsar, April 30, 2014
First Published: 23:11 IST(30/4/2014) | Last Updated: 23:12 IST(30/4/2014)

Demanding an inquiry into the conduct of assistant returning officer (ARO), Lambi, Sandeep Rishi, Congress candidate Manpreet Singh Badal has demanded repoll in five villages of Lambi assembly segment.

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"Dyal Singh Kollianwali, a member of the ruling party (Shiromani Akali Dal) and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), led a cavalcade of goons and resorted to hijacking of booths in 16 villages," Manpreet alleged in his complaint to the Election Commission (EC).

He added, "Kollianwali was also overseeing the distribution of liquor and money as his cavalcade of cars, jeeps and other vehicles went around threatening people and pressurising them to cast votes in favour of Harsimrat Kaur Badal (Akali candidate)."

"In light of this, I demand repoll in five villages falling in Lambi, namely Kollianwali, Sham Khera, Chappianwali, Burj Sidwan and Lohara. These were the five villages where there was total booth capturing. Kindly ask for reports from your returning officers about other booths also," he wrote in the complaint.

Manpreet also asked the EC to investigate the conduct of ARO Sandeep Rishi. "He was posted as ADC (additional deputy commissioner) in Amritsar, but he took a demotion and became the DTO (district transport officer) in Muktsar, so that he could help the ruling Akali Dal government."

In the run-up to the elections, HT had highlighted that Rishi had been posted as DTO, Muktsar, in a suspicious manner. Following the HT report, the Congress had alleged that Rishi was a blue-eyed boy of the Badals and demanded his removal.

Manpreet said, "Rishi's conduct should be thoroughly investigated and exemplary punishment may be handed out to the guilty. He was instrumental in violating the model code of conduct by his partisan behaviour and disturbing the neutrality of the electoral process."

The Muktsar deputy commissioner, Paramjit Singh, said meanwhile that he had formally received no complaint from Manpreet, though he had deputed Rishi to probe the allegations of booth-capturing and "found no such thing in  Kollianwali". "I have received verbal instructions from the Punjab chief electoral officer (CEO) to conduct an inquiry. I have yet not received the detailed inquiry report."

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