Bar Mumbai Shiv Sena winner's oath-taking as MP: Losing candidate's notice to LS officer

Mumbai, Jun 20 (IANS): In an unprecedented development, a losing candidate in the recent Lok Sabha elections from Mumbai North West has shot off a legal notice to the Lok Sabha Secretary-General seeking to bar the winner, Shiv Sena’s Ravindra D Waikar, from taking oath as an MP.

The notice was sent by Advocate Asim Sarode here on Thursday on behalf of Hindu Samaj Party’s Lok Sabha poll candidate Bharat K Shah, who has now challenged Waikar’s election on various grounds of alleged irregularities in the counting process.

After a lot of tension during counting at the NESCO centre in Goregaon East, Waikar was proclaimed the winner from Mumbai North West, late on June 4.

In the notice, the aggrieved Shah has said, “In the background of serious complaints regarding malpractices, irregularities NESCO vote counting center… Not to allow Ravindra Waikar to take oath of allegiance under Article 99 as a MP”.

Sarode said in the notice that after the counting process, Waikar was declared the winner with 452,644 votes against his closest rival, Shiv Sena (UBT)’s Amol G. Kirtikar who polled 452,596 votes - by a wafer-thin margin of 48 votes - while Shah, who lost had secured just 937 votes.

Probably for the first time, a close relative of a candidate, namely Waikar, was found using a mobile phone inside the NESCO centre at the time of vote counting and Shah immediately lodged a complaint with the Returning Officer, besides lodging a FIR with the Vanrai Police Station (No.201/2024).

Shah’s notice further claimed that the police probe revealed that Mangesh V Pandilkar - who is reportedly related to Shiv Sena President and Chief Minister Eknath Shinde – was using a mobile phone which was allegedly connected to an EVM.

The Investigating Officer said that Pandilkar’s mobile phone was used to generate an OTP to unlock the EVM that evening and a notice under CrPC Section 41A has also been served to Dinesh Gurav, who was the operator of the ENCORE (Poll Portal) of the Election Commission of India (ECI).

The police have sent Pandilkar’s mobile for forensic analysis plus fingerprinting, besides taking and checking the CCTV footage inside the counting centre.

Police also found an Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) for service voters that is used after the EVMs.

“The specific allegation against the accused is that to unlock the postal ballot system, Gurav used the same mobile phone and generated an OTP,” said Sarode’s notice.

He pointed out that during the EVM counting, Kirtikar was leading but after the ETPBS count, he trailed and Waikar was declared the winner by just 48 votes.

The notice said that this was the first time when a specific process of fraud through an EVM came to light and became the point of discussion all over India and internationally, as “Waikar’s win is tainted and prima facie under clouds of criminal activities done by him in an organised manner.”

In view of this, Shah said that it would not be just and proper to allow Waikar to take his oath as MP so as to retain and regain the confidence of voters in India that there is some evaluation system functional which takes serious and swift cognisance of election frauds.

Sarode added that Shah is determined to approach all the appropriate legal forums to seek justice and bring transparency into action in the country’s election process.



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Title: Bar Mumbai Shiv Sena winner's oath-taking as MP: Losing candidate's notice to LS officer

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