A Bengal election officer who claims to have slept overnight with an electronic voting machine (EVM) at the residence of his relative, a Trinamool Congress leader, has been suspended by the Election Commission.
"The EVM and VVPAT will not be used in the polls," the election body said on April 6, reported NDTV.
Tapan Sarkar, the deputed officer for Howrah's Sector 17 in AC 177 Uluberia Uttar, took a reserve EVM to his politician-relative's home to sleep over.
"Charges for major punishment will now be framed against the official, authorities have said. Police officials attached to him will also face action," EC said.
"This is a gross violation of Election Commission of India's instructions for which the Sector Officer has been suspended and charges will be framed for major punishment," the Commission said in a statement. "The sector police attached to the officer have also been directed to be suspended."
The Election Commission also said that General Observer Neeraj Pawan checked all seals of the EVM, which has now been stored in a separate room under the observer's custody.
In another shocking incident, a Congress candidate from West Bengal's Baghmundi Assembly constituency alleged that CCTV cameras relaying video footage of stored electronic voting machines (EVMs) were switched off for more than an hour.
The blackout recurred on Sunday after a complaint was filed by the Congress candidate on Saturday, April 4.
Reacting to the complaint, the Election Commission, on Monday, April 5, said that the disruptions occurred due to a technical glitch.
This controversy around EVM safety comes after Election Commission officials were caught transporting EVM in a vehicle owned by a BJP candidate in Assam's Ratabari constituency on Friday, April 2.
In response, the EC ordered a repoll as well as suspended four officials in connection with the incident.