Indian Army on Friday said the preliminary investigations indicated that the complaints that the secrecy of voting and sanctity of electoral process was being violating are unfounded and appears to have been made to tarnish the image of the men in olive.
The statement came in response to a reported complaint by the Leh district election officer.
“Complaints were received form contesting candidates Sajjad Hussain and Asgar Ali Karbalai (independent candidates) regarding postal ballot to be cast by service personnel. No specific instances have been mentioned in the complaints. However, these have been brought to the notice of the army authorities who have been requested for sensitising the concerned officers about the procedures prescribed in this regard by the election commission.” Srinagar-based defence PRO Col Rajesh Kalia said.
“Preliminary investigations indicate that the complaints are unfounded and appears to have been made to tarnish the image of Army. In depth investigation is on to ascertain the details in the most impartial manner,” he added.
Army remains apolitical and we hold this core value in letter and spirit, Col Kalia added.
Earlier in the day, in a letter to Leh-based XIV Corps which comes under Udhampur-headquartered Northern Command of Indian Army, District Election Officer Avny Lavasa said, “A complaint has been received from a contesting candidatefor the 4-Ladhak Parliamentary constituency for trhe Lok Sabha elections 2019, where in it is alleged that there are malpractice on part of various commanding officers of the Indian Army in the electronic postal ballot system.”
It is alleged that the commanding officer sare telephonically asking jawans for their voting preference rather than supplying to them the ballot paper for casting his vote, the officer added in her letter.
This is a gross violation of secrecy of voting and a malpractice that has the potential to invite strict legal action, the officer said.
She also urged the Army to senitise the officers about the issue and the sanctity of election process maintained.