TMC candidate’s wife files police complaint against election body
The wife of a Trinamool Congress poll candidate, who died of Covid-19 shortly after elections in his seat, filed a police complaint on Wednesday, accusing the Election Commission of India and senior poll officials of culpable homicide.
The complaint was filed in Khardaha police station by Nandita Sinha, wife of Kajal Sinha, a TMC candidate from Khardaha in North 24 Parganas who tested positive for Covid-19 on April 20 and succumbed to the virus on Sunday.
“The ECI is solely liable for my husband’s death caused due to the rapid surge in coronavirus cases in West Bengal as it has neither ensured safety of the candidates nor the general public during the ongoing elections. Due to the deliberate and intentional omission on the part of the ECI, I have lost my husband,” Nandita Sinha wrote in her complaint.
She requested that a first information report (FIR) be filed against deputy election commissioner Sudip Jain and other senior poll officials under sections 269 / 270 / 304 (2) and 120b of the Indian Penal Code. These sections pertain to spreading infection dangerous to life and culpable homicide.
State police said they received the complaint but didn’t lodge an FIR because there was no specific complaint against any person.
“We have received the complaint. It is more of general nature and there is no specific complaint. Hence, we are not lodging any FIR. We will investigate,” said Ajay Kumar Nand, police commissioner of Barrackpore.
ECI sought a report from the state government on the matter. “Factual report from state DGP [director general of police] has been sought on TMC wife’s complaint,” an EC official said on condition of anonymity.
Sinha was one of four candidates who died of Covid-19 in the state, where infections have zoomed 75 times since elections were announced on February 26. Experts have linked surge in cases to maskless political rallies where thousands jostled in violation of distancing protocols.
On Wednesday, the state registered 17207 new cases and 77 deaths, a record, pushing the toll to 11159.
ECI has faced criticism for the long poll season and violation of Covid norms at rallies, especially from the Madras and Calcutta high courts. In response, the poll body has defended its decision, banned campaigning at night, victory processions on counting day (May 2), limited events to 500 people and increased the silent period for campaigning to 72 hours before the latter phases.
“She has lost her husband and the family is grief stricken. The BJP would not like to make any comment on this,” said Samik Bhattacharya, BJP spokesperson.