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EC shunts out Telangana SP over Congress leader’s arrest


The Election Commission on Wednesday ordered the transfer of the Vikarabad Superintendent of Police T. Annapurna, a day after the state Congress Working President Revanth Reddy was arrested by the police.

The poll panel has posted Avinash Mohanthy as the new district Superintendent of Police.

The Election Commission directed the Telangana Director General of Police not to use the services of Annapurna for election purposes.

The action comes a day after Revanth Reddy, also a Congress candidate from Kodangal constituency, was arrested in a raid on his house past midnight.

Police said he was taken into preventive custody as he had threatened to disrupt the election rally of Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao at Kosgi in Kodangal constituency.

Revanth was released after the rally of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief.

The Hyderabad High Court had faulted the Telangana Police for the manner in which Revanth was arrested and wondered if the state had become a banana republic.

The court on Tuesday had summoned the Advocate General to produce the evidence based on which the police acted against Revanth.

The High Court heard the Habeas Corpus petition filed by a Congress leader for a second consecutive day on Wednesday. A division bench of Justice Raghavendra Singh Chauhan and Justice M. Satyanarayana Murthy summoned Director General of Police (DGP) Mahender Reddy and asked him to show the grounds on which the police arrested Revanth.

The DGP was also asked at which level the decision to arrest the Congress candidate was taken.

A lawyer of the petitioner told reporters that the court was not satisfied with the explanation and records provided by the DGP. It raised doubts on the veracity of a document from the intelligence department.

The court directed the DGP to file an affidavit and adjourned the hearing to December 17.

Telangana is going to the polls on December 7.

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Telangana elections: Cash transporters adopt ‘Escort’ method


Following the strict vigilance by the Election Commission (EC) on the illegal cash transport for distributing voters in connection with Telangana Elections, the cash transporters are adopting ‘Escort’ methods to avoid checking at the border check-posts on National Highways, temporary check-posts established by the Static Surveillance Teams (SSTs) on State Highways and surprise vehicle checking by the flying squads at internal roads.

So far, the special teams have seized Rs. 90 crore of currency (undisclosed amount) and lakhs of litres of liquor at the check points and apprehended hundreds of persons in connection with these cases.

Sources said that the cash transporters are adopting ‘Escort Vehicles’ to avoid police cases and checking. “In this method, the vehicle consisting of huge cash follows another vehicle which has no cash as escort. Whenever the persons in the escort vehicle sniff police check-posts, they alert the persons travelling in the cash-vehicles. Immediately the second vehicle either takes diversion or waits till the first vehicle comes back to change strategies in transporting cash,” the sources added.

Explaining about the transporters the sources said, “Majority of candidates of various parties are approaching Havala and Hundi operators in Hyderabad city for the transportation of cash from one place to another and one district to other and even interstate transportation. The commission is also in huge percentage for the transportation of cash among the strict vigilance circumstances. Usually, they collect 5% but, now they are demanding up to 10% of commission to transport the money,” they said.

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EC team assesses poll preparedness in Telangana


A team of the Election Commission of India (EC) on Tuesday met top officials and leaders of political parties in Telangana as part of its exercise to assess the preparedness for conduct of Assembly elections in the state.

The team led by Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha held separate meetings with the officials and representatives of recognised political parties.

The EC team had a meeting with officials from various departments. State’s Chief Electoral Officer Rajat Kumat, senior officials from police, revenue and other departments attended the meeting.

Earlier, the EC officials elicited view of the political parties during separate meetings with them.

The team will submit its report to the Commission and based on this a decision will be taken on poll dates.

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrshekhar Rao on September 6 dissolved the Assembly to pave way for early elections. The polls are likely to be held in November.

During the meetings with the visiting team, leaders of ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and its friendly party Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) sought early conduct of elections.

TRS leader Vinod Kumar said the polls should be held as early as possible. MIM President Asaduddin Owaisi suggested that the elections in Telangana be held in single phase and before the polls in four other states scheduled in December.

The opposition parties, however, opposed the conduct of polls in a hurry. They raised the issue of missing names from the voters’ list.

Congress leader M. Sashidhar Reddy wondered how Chief Minister K. Chandrshekhar Rao could announce the poll schedule. He urged the Commission to take a serious view of this.

The Congress leader also alleged that names of lakhs of voters were deleted. He said the polls should be conducted only after a thorough revision of electoral rolls.

The representatives of Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) also said the time given for revision of electoral rolls under the revised schedule is not sufficient to complete the process. They alleged that Chandrashekhar Rao was crossing his limits as caretaker Chief Minister.

BJP leaders also demanded that revision of electoral rolls should be extended for another 15 days in view of the Ganesh festival.

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EC to Crack Whip Against TDP?


[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n a major jolt to Telugu Desam Party, the Election Commission of India shifted its focus to the ongoing infamous cash-for-vote scam. EC on Thursday filed a memo in the ACB Court in Hyderabad seeking duplicate copy of the report submitted by FSL.

It may be noted that FSL on Wednesday submitted a preliminary report on the audio that’s alleged to be of Chandrababu Naidu. If ascertained that the voice is that of Chandrababu Naidu, TDP supremo might have to face legal consequences. It has to be mentioned here that cash-for-vote scam came to light when ACB sleuths apprehended TDP MLA Revant Reddy. The same night, media released the footage of the sting operation that showed Revant Reddy promising five crore rupees to nominated MLA to Telangana assembly, Stephenson, in case he votes for TDP candidate in MLC elections.

Days after that sting operation went viral, vernacular media aired the audio tapes that allegedly contained conversation between Chandrababu and Stephenson. While TDP said that the audio was fabricated and also said that the phones were tapped, Telangana Government stressed that telephone lines were not fabricated.  Now that Election Commission has also plunged into this activity, it might take an action against Chandrababu Naidu only if it’s proved that the voice in the audio is that of Chandrababu. The experts said that the action could be banning the political party or its supremo from contesting elections and exercising his vote.

Notably, Election Commission earlier took such strong decisions and Shiv Sena’s Bal Thackeray can be cited as an example as he was banned from exercising his vote for a period of six years for proving guilty in a communal violence case. How and when Election Commission is going to crack its whip against TDP has now become the talk of the town.

(Phani B)

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