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Karnataka: ECI lashes out at voter fraud case, two additional district election officers suspended

Karnataka Voter Scam Case: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has taken action in the voter fraud case of Karnataka. The commission has ordered the suspension of two additional district election officers in Karnataka on charges of voter fraud (Voter Data Theft). Along with this, the Election Commission has directed to review the inclusion and removal of names in the voter list of Shivajinagar, Chickpet and Mahadevapura assembly constituencies of Karnataka. The Election Commission of India has directed the Chief Secretary and Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka to conduct 100 per cent verification of voter lists in all the three assembly constituencies.

The election body directed the Chief Electoral Officer to share the list of changes (inclusions and deletions) made in the electoral rolls of Shivajinagar, Chickpet and Mahadevapura assembly constituencies after January 1, 2022, with all recognized political parties so that they Register claims and objections. The Congress had filed a petition with the election body a day earlier. After that the commission issued this instruction. The Congress, in its petition, had alleged that 27 lakh names were deleted and 11 lakh new names were included in the electoral rolls of the three assembly constituencies.

Which NGO has been accused of stealing voter data?

An NGO has been accused of collecting voters’ data in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) area. People of an NGO working for Chilum Educational Cultural and Rural Development (Chilum Trust) have been accused of stealing voters’ data. The NGO was given the responsibility of running the voter awareness campaign. The Congress is besieging the ruling BJP government over the alleged theft of voter data.

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What did the Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka say?

Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer Manoj Kumar Meena had earlier informed that an inquiry has been ordered in the matter. He had said that it is feared that during the voter awareness campaign, the NGO collected voter data by posing as booth level officers, in view of this suspicion, an inquiry has been ordered.

According to news agency PTI, Meena had said that the BBMP commissioner had some information. It is feared that the NGO collected the data by pretending to be a fake identity. He had said that the truth would come out after the investigation by the police and the divisional commissioner.

Congress accuses BJP of stealing voter data

The Congress alleges that the people of the NGO were provided with fake identity cards so that they could collect voter data by posing as booth-level officers of the BBMP. The Congress alleged that the Chilum Trust had also uploaded the stolen data of voters on its app.

A delegation led by Karnataka Congress President DK Shivakumar lodged a complaint in this regard on November 19 at the state election office in Bengaluru. The Congress has directly accused the BJP government of stealing voters’ data. The Congress has demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai regarding the matter and has also demanded an inquiry by the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court.

CM Basavaraj Bommai hit back at Congress

CM Basavaraj Bommai has denied the allegations leveled against his government. On November 20, CM Bommai said that he would find out when Chilum Truss was first assigned the task of door-to-door survey. Bommai said that from 2013 to 2018, when the Congress was in power, he had worked with this NGO. CM Bommai said that he has directed the concerned authorities to investigate the alleged theft of voter data since 2013.

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