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NCP (SP) claims wrongdoing after CCTVs get turned off at godown storing EVMs from Baramat

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Pune, May 13 (PTI) The Nationalist Congress Party (SP) on Monday alleged wrongdoing after CCTV cameras got turned off for 45 minutes at a godown where the EVMs from the Baramati Lok Sabha constituency were stored in Maharashtra's Pune district.

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The election authorities, however, clarified that a cable of the cameras had to be removed for a short period during some electrical work on the premises in the morning.

The CCTVs were turned off between 10.30 am and 11.15 am at the Food Corporation of India's godown, where the EVMs from the constituency are stored, said Laxmikant Khabiya, the election representative of Baramati candidate Supriya Sule.

"Election officials told us that the CCTVs will function round the clock. Our party representatives are deployed to keep a watch. On Monday, we received an alert that the CCTVs were turned off for nearly 45 minutes. We tried to raise the issue with the police. The administration has come up with a clarification, but we will submit an application to the returning officer of Baramati," Khabiya said.

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Meanwhile, Baramati returning officer Kavita Dwivedi said the party's claim was investigated, and it was found that an electrician at the godown had removed a cable, which caused the display unit to be shut down.

All cameras in the premises were functional, and the data was intact, she said.

In a post on 'X', Dwivedi said, "A three-tier security is in place, and EVMs are all duly sealed, and the seals are intact. The returning officer visits the strong room regularly. Apart from this, as per office order AROS and AAROs visit the strong room as per guidelines of the Election Commission of India. It is denied that there is any negligence in storing EVMs." The data is intact, and there is no interruption in the CCTV footage, she said in the post.

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All instructions regarding the backup as per protocols have been given to the agency and have been verified by viewing the CCTV footage.

"A couple of representatives of the complainant were also present when the display was functional and when it went off. Since the CCTVs are intact and the due protocols are followed there is no reason for panic," she stated.

Polling was held on May 7 in Baramati, where sitting MP Supriya Sule locked horns with her sister-in-law and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar's wife Sunetra. PTI SPK ARU

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