The Election Commission of India is reportedly viewing the actions of the Chittoor District Collector Pradhyumna on April 11, seriously. In particular, ECI is said to have taken a serious note of a video showing a vote being cast for the ruling TDP in polling booth No.273 of Pileru constituency in Chittoor district on April 10. How this could take place a day before polling has become a talking point in official circles, particularly in the ECI it is learnt. Moreover, collector Pradhyumna is reported to have held prolonged discussions with chief minister’s associate and technical expert Vemuri Harikrishna Prasad.

The collector’s behavior has come under the scanner particularly because the district elections officer, who in this case is the collector had reportedly been in touch with an accused in a EVM theft case. This is seen as a clear case of violation of election code. Moreover, it is learned that sensitive information with regard to EVMs was being discussed on a daily basis with Vemuri Harikrishna Prasad. This has also come to the notice of the Election Commission. Additionally, it is learnt that the collector had sent a report that polling was peaceful on April 11 in Chittoor when several incidents of violence took place across the district. The ECI is reportedly studying the entire issue in detail, according to official sources.

The ECI is also checking as to how long was the connection between Harikrishna Prasad and the DC. As per guidelines laid down by the election commission, mock polling is supposed to be conducted on the day of election at 5.30 am. A video showing a vote being cast for TDP a day before polling at booth number 273 of Pileru surfaced contrary to this. This matter is being viewed by ECI with seriousness and concern, it is learnt and could amount to EVM tampering. The entire issue could turn into a noose around the neck of the district collector. It may be pointed out that the current DC of Chittoor Pradhyumna, had worked in the past in chief minister Chandrababu Naidu’s Secretariat after the party came to power in 2014. It is learnt that he oversaw the development of the smart pulse survey app. As it turned out, sensitive information which was procured through this and other surveys later fell into the hands of IT Grids India run by Ashok Dakavaram, a close associate of IT minister Nara Lokesh. Later, the data was transferred to the TDP’s Seva Mitra app. Political parties are now expressing their doubts about the safety of EVMs in strong rooms in the wake of such serious allegations against the district collector.

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