Missing voters: Pune Police refuses to register Phadke’s complaint as FIR

Despite incriminating evidence procured through Section 4 of the RTI Act, proving fraudulent deletion of Sharad Phadke’s name from voters’ list in Pune, the police got a counter statement from Election Commission office while refusing to registering an FIR


Sharad Phadke and I,  who through inspection of files under Section 4 of the RTI Act, procured documents after spending two long days at the Tehsildar office in his Kasba constituency, revealing the fraudulent procedure adopted to delete his name from the voters’ list, decided to file a FIR for tampering with the voters’ list and illegally deleting his name.
 
We showed the documents to leading lawyer Aseem Sarode and noted RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar. Sarode stated that, “this case is a pointed one, directly showing the falsification of documents which is a criminal act and merits a FIR. It is a sample case of a possible mass fraud that led to deletion of thousands of names.’’ Kumbhar too mentioned that under the Representation of People’s Act, mischievous and fraudulent deletion of name from the voters’ list amounts to criminal offence and has rigorous punishment. In this case, the Collector, Election Officer and Block Officer are all directly responsible for this criminal act.
 


After three long hours of waiting, Senior Police Inspector Mr Sawant of the Vishrambag Wada Police Station, called us in and said that he will look into the matter as he had got a written statement from Vaishali Visal, the election office staffer, saying that she has followed the required procedure for deletion of Mr Phadke’s name. I snapped back saying, “how can you ask for a counter statement, with lodging Mr Phadke’s FIR?’’ He said. “just leave your complaint with me and we will do the needful after consulting with the senior. Such a complaint has to be addressed by the Election Commission and not by the police.”
 
So, how come, Mr Kirit Somayya’s police complaint regarding the same issue was filed at the Mulund Police Station under Section 120 B (for conspiracy?) just a while ago?’ To that Sawant asked us to go outside so that he could speak to his seniors.
 
After a few minutes, the havaldar came and asked Phadke to put a signature on his complaint, which we had drafted and brought a printout of it. Phadke insisted that he would like to lodge a FIR. So, again we went to Sawant’s office who mentioned that it would be lodged after further consultation with his seniors and he would ensure that the FIR copy is delivered to Mr Phadke’s house. As per law, the police is given 48 hours to lodge a FIR. Sarode has adviced that Phadke sends the complaint by registered post to Mr Sawant with a note saying that despite having come personally, FIR was not lodged. In the meanwhile we insisted that he gives us an acknowledgement on the copy of the complaint, which they did.
 
After that, I went to the Kothrud Election office where I had asked for details of three voters whose names were selectively deleted. Here too, the documents prove that no procedure was followed. More on this, tomorrow.
 


Details of Mr Phadke’s documents and procedure of deletion of names from the voters’ list can be read here: Pune voter list file inspection shows deletion is done fraudulently!

 

I used Twitter as a communication to give a minute-to-minute happening of our visit to the two police stations – first to Narayanpeth Police Chowkey and Vishrambagwada Police Station. Here they are:

My tweets (please read them from below for proper order):

In  this country for ordinary citizens at all? Politician @KiritSomaiya 's FIR lodged immediately but Phadke's kept waiting.

Filing FIR of Kothrud documents tomorrow. Until then please pray that I get back my favourite Samsung tablet mobile. So distressing!

I went to Kothrud election office,got documents of 3 citizens. Here too no procedure followed-207of 267 names deleted from 1 polling station

Taking full advantage of 48 hrs stipulated time to lodge FIR, the police registered our police complaint but have to convert it into FIR


Noted lawyer Aseem Sarode has asked Phadke to send the police complaint by Regd post also.

Oh my God - after all that running, I've gone and lost my mobile. It's got left in the rickshaw. Efforts on to trace it


Just now Police Inspector Sawant has accepted Phadke's complaint. Police has 48 hrs time to do the FIR so he will send a copy later.

Now Police Inspector is again calling his seniors. Kya darte hei ye log
Outrageous. how can Pol Insp take statement of election office without taking Phadke's FIR? Shocking. We will wait


P I Sawant says he cannot take FIR and he has already got statement from EO.dat procedure was adopted. i again read out @Dev_Fadnavis tweet

We should all salute Sharad Phadke, a senior citizen who is more enthusiastic then me to file the complaint. He is my hero of the day

Honestly, why can't police take down FIR and then start internal consultations?


Thanks @Dev_Fadnavis forr tweet on @KiritSomaiya police complaint.I quickly showed it to police. waiting since 2.5 hrs at Visrambag pol stn

Election Commissions says sorry and takes responsibility for mass deletions.Not enough. Please announce fresh date before LS election process over

Now PSI Patil has been sent by his senior offucer to find out something before he takes down complaintThey in real fix as we try to fix them


Police at Narayan Peth police chowky say they need to consult seniors. Now we have been asked tk come to vishrambag pol st. Waiting

a SC judgment says if anything so abnormal has taken place CEC shld set aside normal procedures to ensure fair election.


(Vinita Deshmukh is consulting editor of Moneylife, an RTI activist and convener of the Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyaan. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting which she won twice in 1998 and 2005 and the Chameli Devi Jain award for outstanding media person for her investigation series on Dow Chemicals. She co-authored the book “To The Last Bullet - The Inspiring Story of A Braveheart - Ashok Kamte” with Vinita Kamte and is the author of “The Mighty Fall”.)

Comments
PG Bhat
8 years ago
It is not easy to fight the system.

I admire the good work you all are doing.
Sharad Phadke
8 years ago
Police have given me "Samaj Patra"
[समजपत्र] that they have sent my complaint to Dy. Election Commissioner for Kasba Constituency for his advise.
On getting the report we will take the next action.
This is very simple a thief has been consulted to check if he has done a theft.
I will post a letter under section 154[3] to Dy. Commissioner for FIR but from this it appears the chances are very thin.
I have no energy to go in WP in High Court as this is a very long process and I have no knowledge if I will leave to see justice. [I am 73]
Abhijit Gosavi
Replied to Sharad Phadke comment 8 years ago
Salute you, sir, for the courage and drive you have shown --- especially at your age! Many people your age (my parents are that age) have trouble walking, which makes this all the more admirable! And you are going to live for many more years!
Adheer Pai
8 years ago
In Pune, the EC removed around 4.2 lakh voters and provided only 21 calendar days for correction and rectification of the voter rolls after they published the final rolls.

Assuming even half of the 4.2 lakh voters came back to the EC for rectification / adding their deleted names, the EC would have to process and rectify at least 12,000 entries per day.

It is physically impossible to handle this kind of workload for EC. Any sane person knows this is.

Were they even equipped to handle this workload ?

What is the maximum workload that the EC can process in day - this can perhaps be known through an RTI.

This is a prima facie case of incompetence, negligence, improper planning and perhaps conspiracy.
Adheer Pai
8 years ago
Keep up the good work.

If a statistical analysis of the deleted voters list is done a sinister pattern will emerge - that will favor a particular political party.

I have seen instances where government officials were expected to do the voter list update work, but this task was subtly outsourced private contractors.

In the 24th April (Mumbai edition) of Times Of India (page 4), it was mentioned that if a voters name was deleted (as per the ASD list) but existed in the 2009/2012 rolls, then that citizen can vote by filing a self declaration form.
However, this was not allowed by the presiding officers, and no information regarding the same was posted outside the polling stations.
Vinita Deshmukh
8 years ago
Dear Mr Chanchalani, BJP is playing hide and seek - wondering whether BJP will win in Pune by a thin margin. In that case why make a noise? Then it will start making a noise if it loses Pune seat. Where is the genuine interest of voters' fundamental right to vote that has been brutally snatched away?
TIHARwale
8 years ago
Sharad Phadke and Vinita Deshmukh should thank their stars for not able to register an FIR. Knowing the tardy Justice delivery system in India they may after 15 years from now will be asked to depose as prosecution witness and even after a dozen of visits to court their deposition will not be over.
Shashank Tikekar
8 years ago
It seems that Sonia's strategy to plant her cronies in constitutional institution bearing fruits for her
Nilesh KAMERKAR
8 years ago
Voter list toh jhaaki hai, EVM ka fixing baaki hai . . .
J P Shah
8 years ago
Keep on keeping on. Hats off to Shri Phadke and moneylife.
Dinesh Chanchalani
8 years ago
You are the only one who is doing *something* about this in Pune. Where is the pathetic local BJP leadership of Pune? Cowards!
Abhijit Gosavi
8 years ago
Clearly, they are trying to hush this up; salute you for your courage and drive, Vinita-tai!
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