SEC Visits Bargarh to Probe Code Violation

State Election Commissioner (SEC) Ajit Tripathy visited Bargarh on Wednesday to probe into the controversial statement made by Finance Minister Prasanna Acharya during an election meeting here on November 17.

The SEC has already examined video footage of the speech in which Acharya had threatened to stop funds to areas that would not vote for the BJD in the ULB elections. He also studied the Minister’s reply and then a subsequent clarification to the show cause notice served on the Minister besides Collector Bhabagrahi Mishra’s report on the incident.

Acharya, in his reply to the SEC, had said that only a specific portion of the entire speech was aired by the news channel and pleaded not guilty. The SEC went around the election meeting venue and met one of the two scribes who had been called as witness. The probe, though, remained inconclusive with one of the scribes remaining absent and other seeking time to submit the entire video clipping of the speech.

During his visit, the SEC went to the Circuit House where he was supposed to meet cameraman of a private news channel Santosh Bhoi and district correspondent of a vernacular daily Laxminarayan Hota.

While Bhoi was absent, Hota said he would take up the matter with higher authorities of his office and sought time to submit the entire length of audio-visual clipping which he had collected. Congress and the BJP have demanded action against Acharya on the ground that he intimidated the voters.

Tripathy said while Bhoi was at Attabira and hence could not come, Hota has said the entire audio visual clipping was in their office headquarters at Bhubaneswar. He said he would take up the matter with their office and the entire clipping would be submitted to him directly. The SEC said in absence of the full clipping, the probe remained inconclusive.

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