EC refuses extra time to Jairam Ramesh to back claims on attempts to influence DMs ahead of vote count | India News – Times of India

EC refuses extra time to Jairam Ramesh to back claims on attempts to influence DMs ahead of vote count | India News – Times of India



NEW DELHI: The Election Commission on Monday refused to grant additional time to Congress leader Jairam Ramesh to back his claims that attempts were made to influence 150 district magistrates and collectors ahead of the June 4 vote count for Lok Sabha elections.
Ramesh was asked by the poll panel to submit factual details by Sunday evening of the allegations that he made in a social media post recently.
Cannot put target on backs of serving officers: Jairam Ramesh
Ramesh wrote to the EC on Monday seeking a week more to submit his reply.
In his appeal for more time, Ramesh said: “On June 2, after receipt of your letter I requested my party colleagues to inform the Hon’ble Commission at the hearing for the basis of our concerns. These were suitably elaborated for you, and we pointed out that our concern is one vis-à-vis vigilance and that we cannot put serving officers in jeopardy by putting a target on their backs. Most importantly, the spirit of the concerns raised related to the previously well documented and high-handed behaviour of the ruling regime in misusing and even intimidating official machinery (detailed complaints of which are on record over these last 6 years). These were not charges against the ECI but instead a request to safeguard against such malpractices. The Commission has asked me for a detailed reply, and I shall provide one. However, as the Hon’ble Commission is aware, my official duties these two days before the counting require that I ask for a short extension of one week to file a detailed reply.”
EC rejects extension plea
In a letter to Ramesh, the EC said, “The Commission hereby outrightly rejects your request for time extension and directs you to file your response along with the factual matrix/ basis of your allegation by 7pm today — June 3, failing which it would be presumed that you have nothing substantive to say in the matter and the Commission would proceed ahead to take appropriate action”.

The EC said his allegation that attempts have been made to influence the district magistrates of around 150 parliamentary constituencies, who are also the returning officers and district election officers, has serious connotation and direct bearing on the sanctity of the counting process scheduled for Tuesday.
The EC said no DM has reported any such undue influence as alleged by him.
Not right to spread rumours: CEC
Earlier in the day, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar had slammed allegations against Union home minister Amit Shah, stating that it was not right to spread “rumour” and “doubt everyone”.
Ramesh had alleged that Shah had called up over 150 district magistrates in an attempt to influence the outcome of the counting of votes.
“Can someone influence them all? (district magistrates/returning officers) all? Can anyone influence 500-600 people? Tell us who did this. We will punish the person who did it. They should tell the details before counting the votes. It is not right that you spread a rumour and doubt everyone,” Rajiv Kumar said at a press conference.
Earlier, the Election Commission of India had sought factual information and details from Ramesh for his public statement through a post on his social media handle alleging that calls have been made by Shah to 150 District Magistrates just days before the scheduled counting of votes (June 4).
The poll body had sought a response from Ramesh by June 2 evening for further necessary action.
In a letter to Ramesh, the EC mentioned that “the process of counting votes is a sacred duty cast upon every RO, and such public statements by a senior, responsible, and experienced leader tend to put an element of doubt and thus, deserve to be addressed in the larger public interest.”
On Saturday, Ramesh had alleged that “outgoing Home Minister has been calling up DMs/Collectors”. He called it “BJP desperation” and said officials should not get under the pressure by such intimidation
(With inputs from agencies)



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