Velusamy has been under the glare ever since he first rejected the nominations of Jayalalithaa's niece Deepa and actor Vishal for the RK Nagar bye-polls.

RK Nagar Returning Officer replaced days after actor Vishals nomination controversy
news RK Nagar bye-poll Saturday, December 09, 2017 - 15:32

With a united opposition crying foul over the treatment meted out to actor Vishal by the Returning Officer at RK Nagar, the Election Commission has replaced K Velusamy on Saturday. IAS officer Shri Praveen P Nair has been told to take over the post. Praveen was the Returning Officer for the RK Nagar bye-polls in April, which was later rescinded due to voter bribery allegations.

Velusamy has been under the glare ever since he first rejected nominations from late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's niece Deepa and from actor Vishal for the RK Nagar bye-polls. He cited an incomplete form for Deepa which she has denied. The Returning Officer had later the same day rejected Vishal’s nomination stating that he did not fulfil the conditions, with only 8 valid proposers backing him. The late-night announcement was preceded by high drama with Vishal claiming that Velusamy had accepted his nomination after initially rejecting it.  

The DMK, VCK, Congress and several others opposition parties have all asked for the RO to be replaced. The DMK has further alleged that 5,000 bogus voters are yet to be removed from the RK Nagar list. 

In a letter dated December 08 and addressed to the Chief Electoral officer of Tamil Nadu, the Election Commission has stated, “The commission having considered the panel forwarded, has approved the name of Shri Praveen P Nair IAS for appointment as Returning Officer for 11-Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar Assembly Constituency.”

Following the rejection of Vishal's nomination, DMK's MK Stalin had alleged that the incident showed that the RO was under the ruling AIADMK's control and demanded an investigation into the matter. Vishal himself stated that the RO had talked to “someone on the phone” before taking the decision. 

In a statement issued late on Tuesday night, Returning Officer Velusamy stated that Vishal’s nomination papers had come under scrutiny after objections were raised over the genuinity of the proposers. The RO goes on to state that two proposers – Sumathy and Deepan – had appeared in person and “submitted written representation that they had not proposed the nomination of Thiru Vishal Krishna and their signatures have been forged”.

When the matter was further scrutinised on Wednesday, the proposers appeared in person once again to make the same claim. Vishal has alleged that they were threatened by AIADMK candidate Madhusudhanan’s team to make these statements. But his nomination was still rejected, making it impossible for him to contest in the polls on December 21. 

 

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