Missing ballot box traced to office of Kerala cooperative dept official

In a glaring omission, a missing ballot box of postal votes was on Monday traced to the office of a top cooperative department official at Malappuram.

The Kerala High Court had directed officials to produce the ballot boxes in a plea moved by K.P.M. Mustafa, a LDF Independent candidate, questioning the victory of UDF candidate Najeeb Kanthapuram from the Pernithalmanna constituency in the 2021 Assembly polls. Kanthapuram had won by a thin margin of 38 votes.

Mustafa had approached the high court with an election petition claiming that 348 postal votes in three ballot boxes were not counted.

The court had asked the concerned officials to see that the ballot boxes be brought to the court. When the officials approached the district treasury to take possession of the three ballot boxes, only two were found.

On further examination, the third box was found at the office of a top cooperative department official in the district, located about 15 km from the strong room where the other two ballot boxes were kept.

Kanthapuram said he has registered a complaint about the missing ballot box with the election authorities as well as the Kerala Police, adding that this is a serious issue and a proper probe has to be conducted into it.

Mustafa also expressed his surprise over the development.

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