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RK Nagar bypoll: TN govt not to go on appeal against single judge order

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: September 24, 2019  | 22:11 IST

Chennai, Sep 24 (PTI) The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday informed the Madras High Court that it would not go on appeal against the order of a single judge quashing an FIR related to alleged electoral malpractices committed during the by-election to the RK Nagar constituency here in April 2017. The state public prosecutor has opined against going on appeal challenging the order of the single judge dated March 13, 2018. Therefore, the state government would not be preferring an appeal, Advocate General Vijay Narayan informed the division bench of justices M Sathyanarayanan and N Seshasayee. Recording the submission, the court reserved its order on the pleas moved by defeated DMK candidate Maruthu Ganesh and advocate MP Vairakkannan seeking transfer of the probe to an independent agency. Earlier, when the plea came up, counsel for Vairakkannan contended that the court must direct the Election Commission to file a fresh complaint which must be probed by the CBI. Representing the Election Commission, advocate Niranjan Rajagopal submitted that he has advised the election officer to prefer an appeal against the single judge order. Advocate R Neelakandan representing Mauthu Ganesh alleged that the election officials were acting in favour of the offenders who were none other than members of the ruling AIADMK. The bench, which recorded all the submissions, directed the Election Commission to file its response on the steps taken to prevent distribution of money to voters during elections by October 22. During an earlier hearing, the court, after perusing the status report from the EC and the case diary of the police, had said the Income Tax report mentioned several names, while the EC report had three particular names. None of the names were there in the FIR. The column for the names of accused was left blank, it had said. The matter relates to searches and seizure of documents by the Income Tax department at various places on April 7, 2017 in connection with bribing of voters, which led to the cancellation of the polls then. On a direction by the Election Commission,the returning officer of the constituency lodged a police complaint on April 27, based on which the FIR was registered. Vairakannan and Ganesh had initially sought registration of the FIR over alleged malpractices in the run up to the April 12 bypoll in the RK Nagar assembly constituency, leading to its cancellation. The bypoll was later held in December 2017. PTI COR BN SNE SNE

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