POST TIME: 1 September, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Barishal city corporation polls
EC begins probe into alleged irregularities
Staff Reporter, Barishal

EC begins probe into alleged irregularities

The Election Commission (EC) on Thursday began an investigation into the alleged irregularities in the 26 additional voting centres during the BCC election on July 30. Khondokar Mizanur Rahman, joint secretary, election management and convener of the four-member probe committee, revealed this to journalists on Thursday. Three other members of the committee were Md. Farhad Hossain, deputy secretary, Shahid Abdus Salam, deputy secretary (training) and Md Shah Alam, senior assistant secretary of the Election Commission Secretariat.

The investigation was launched after the voting at 16 centres was postponed. Then on the basis of allegations submitted to returning officer from different sides, 14 additional voting centres were included in the probe list.

This part of investigation was held from August 11-14. Later, 26 more voting centres were included in the list after complaints were submitted directly to the EC. Now, 56 out of the 123 voting centres in the BCC polls have been included in the list of ‘tainted’ voting centres for alleged irregularities in the election.

The first phase of the investigation began at the regional election office, Barishal on August 11 after hearing from presiding officer, assistant presiding, polling officers, polling agents, law enforcing agency officials and members and others involved in the election process of those centres. In that phase, the probe into 30 voting centres, including the 15 centres where results were withheld and another where voting suspended on the day of election, ended in the evening on August 14.

“During the four-day investigation, we had taken statements from more than 1,000 persons, including officials, candidates, their polling agents, law enforcers and others related with election procedure,” Khondokar Mizanur Rahman said. Meanwhile, more allegations with audio, video and others documents had been submitted to the EC headquarters by candidates and others. The EC therefore decided to include more voting centres in the investigation list.

The probe team went to Barishal at the behest of the EC on Thursday after the Eid vacation to look into the alleged irregularities in the additional 26 voting centres.

“After the investigation is over, we will submit a report to the EC and the Commission will take the final decision,” Khondokar Mizanur Rahman said. Earlier, it was decided that the team would submit their report within 15 days of completing the investigation. Mujibur Rahman, the returning officer of the BCC election, said: “The EC will decide whether re-election would be held in those centres or official results would be published”.