After a tight race to the finish and with a difference of 8,141 votes, DMK's Kathir Anand won the Vellore Parliamentary elections on Friday. He defeated AC Shanmugam, founder of the New Justice Party, who represented the AIADMK alliance. His victory comes just three months after the Lok Sabha polls in Vellore were cancelled over an alleged cash-for-votes scam involving Kathir Anand.
While the DMK alliance candidate got a total of 4,85,340 votes, the AIADMK alliance managed to win 4,77,199 votes. With this, DMK has a total of 38 MPs in the Lok Sabha, while the AIADMK has only one. The constituency, according to The Hindu, has 14,32,555 voters of whom 10,24, 352 persons voted. The polling percentage in the the six Assembly segments were as follows: Vellore - 66.65%, Anaikattu - 74.77%, Kilvaithinankuppam - 75.60%, Gudiyatham - 69.06%, Vaniyambadi - 73.25%, and Ambur - 70.53%.
In April, the Election Commission of India (ECI) cancelled the elections in Vellore over alleged efforts to bribe voters by the DMK. Vellore becomes the first constituency in India where a Lok Sabha election was cancelled because of cash for votes.
This came after the Income Tax department conducted searches in the house of DMK Treasurer Duraimurugan - Kathir Anand's father - in the wee hours of March 30 and then conducted searches in a cement godown on April 1. More than Rs 11 crore was seized by the officials on April 1. The cash was stacked in cartons, gunny sacks and shopping bags.
An FIR was registered against Duraimuruganâ€™s son and DMK candidate DM Kathir Anand on April 8 and two of his team members. Kathir was booked for possessing more cash than what he had declared in his election affidavit. The FIR also included the names of Poonjolai Srinivasan, a local DMK functionary, and a man called Damodaran who owns the cement godown from where the cash was seized.
The FIR stated that Kathir Anand possessed more cash than what he had declared in his election affidavit. Adding that Poonjolai Srinivasan claimed that the money seized from the godown belonged to him, the FIR said, â€śPoonjolai Srinivasan then contacted the Income Tax authorities and accepted that the amount seized from Damodaranâ€™s properties belonged to him and that it was kept there to distribute to voters.â€ť It also said that the seized cash could have been moved to the godown from Duraimuruganâ€™s house when the officers were made to wait outside his house on the night of the raid.