Lok Sabha Polls in Vellore Cancelled After Money Seized From DMK Leaders

Income Tax officials raided Kathir Anand's associates and seized unaccounted cash worth Rs 11.53 crore earlier this month.

New Delhi: Lok Sabha election to the Vellore constituency was cancelled on Tuesday following recovery of huge amount of cash allegedly from a DMK candidate’s office a few days ago.

President Ram Nath Kovind rescinded the notification to hold the election to the seat based on the recommendation made by the poll panel Monday.

Polling in Vellore was scheduled on April 18.

The EC took the decision after the district police filed a complaint against the accused, Kathir Anand, as well as two party functionaries on the basis of a report from the Income Tax department on April 10.

Anand was charged under the Representation of the People Act for giving “wrong information” in his election affidavit filed along with his nomination papers, the police said. The other two, identified as Srinivasan and Damodaran, were booked under bribery charges.

The recommendation was sent to the legislative department of the law ministry on Tuesday, which issued the notification.

The Tamil Nadu chief electoral officer has now been informed about the decision. He will, in turn, inform the political parties and candidates about the notification, sources in the government said.

According to reports, this is the first instance of an election to the Lok Sabha being cancelled due to unaccounted cash seizure. In Tamil Nadu assembly elections, there have been two instances of polls being cancelled due to bribery or illegal use of money. In 2017, elections in the RK Nagar constituency were cancelled and in 2016, polls to Thanjavur and Aravakurichi assembly segments were cancelled.

On March 30, Income Tax officials had conducted searches at the residence of Anand’s father Durai Murugan over suspected use of unaccounted money for electioneering, and seized Rs 10.50 lakh in alleged “excess” cash. Two days later, they claimed to have seized Rs 11.53 crore from a cement godown belonging to a DMK leader’s associate in the same district. Durai Murugan is the deputy leader of the opposition in the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly.

Murugan, however, said that he had not concealed anything. Questioning the timing of the Income Tax department’s operation, he had alleged that the raids were a “conspiracy” by certain political leaders who could not face them in the electoral arena.

(With PTI inputs)