Over 295 fake voter identity cards, 59 voters’ slips and a laptop were seized in Bandra (West) during polling yesterday. Police said the alleged bogus material came to light when an Independent candidate, who was doing the rounds of the area, saw a large crowd near a Congress helpdesk and called the cops.
This picture taken by Independent candidate Sameer Rai, who saw the large crowd at a Congress helpdesk, shows the alleged distribution of the fake voter ids. Pic/Shailesh Bhatia
The Bandra police have registered a case, which will be transferred to the Mumbai Crime Branch according to officials. Baba Siddiqui is the sitting Congress MLA from the area. Independent candidate Sameer Rai, of the Peace party, said, “I was with my team in the area.
In the slums near Rangsharda hall, I found a large crowd at a helpdesk of a party in the afternoon. I informed the police but they reached very late. When they arrived, people started running away. A few of them tried to attack me, but I was saved by the police.”
The police arrested a 17-year-old boy and a 19-year –old woman, Sunita Yadav, for allegedly distributing the ‘fake’ election cards at the helpdesk. But several other people, who were allegedly operating at the helpdesk escaped.
Advocate Rizwan Merchant said, “We wrote to the Election Commission a month ago, telling them about the high number of fake voter ids made in Bandra. We had information about 21,000 fake voter ids made in the area. This proves the case." A source said a racket of making the fake election cards and voters’ slips has been going on for a long time, but no action has been taken.
Vinod Sanghvi, a resident of Bandra (West), said, “I had written to the Election Commission recently, complaining of having about seven different names registered in the electoral list on my address. I am not related to any of them. Now this election material that is allegedly fake has been found, which means if action was taken, we would have been saved from this.”
ACP Shivaji Kolekar of Bandra Division said, “We have registered a case against five people and arrested a minor and a woman. The case has been registered under Sections 177 F (furnishing false information), 465 (forgery) and 420 (cheating) of IPC. We are verifying the cards to see whether they are fake or original and will take action against the accused.”
The people at the Congress helpdesk were also allegedly canvassing for the party though this has to stop two days before the election. Senior Police Inspector Ramchandra Dhawale said, “The posters of the Congress candidate were displayed which means they were canvassing for him. We will take action against them jointly with the EC.”