Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Prabhunath Singh, Election Commission on warpath

Incumbent Maharajganj MP Prabhunath Singh is on the radar of the Election Commission (EC).

The panel has received video footage from the Saran district administration, showing Prabhunath asking his men to offer kafaan (shroud) either to him or the district officials behind the institution of cases against him.

The EC is reviewing alleged inflammatory remarks of the Saran strongman, who is contesting from Maharajganj Lok Sabha seat on an RJD ticket.

Sources said a notice would be served on Prabhunath in a day or two seeking a reply at the earliest. “The commission has already received the video footage of Prabhunath’s statement,” a source in the state election department said.

Sources said Prabhunath became furious after he was served notice by the Saran district administration asking him to reply on violating the model code of conduct and inciting the voters during an election campaign rally on April 12, the day former chief minister Rabri Devi filed her nomination papers from Saran parliamentary constituency.

Two separate FIRs under sections 144 of CrPC, sections 353 and 177 of IPC and sections 123 of Representation of Peoples Act, 1951, were lodged against Prabhunath. Section 124(A) was also slapped on him for making provocative speech to incite the electorate.

Prabhunath, in his reply, said since he had not been provided the video footage of the speech, he was unable to respond to certain queries.

Subsequently, Prabhunath held a news meet, where he is learnt to have said: “Humne Hindu riti-riwaj se puri taiyari kar lee hain. Kafan bhi kharid liya hai. Agar main mar gaya to mujhe kafan odha dena nahi to unko (I have made all preparations as per Hindu rituals. I have also purchased shroud. If I die, offer shroud to me else they…)”

Though Prabhunath didn’t mention the name of the officials, he referred to incumbent district magistrate of Saran Kundan Kumar, who, in the capacity of the district returning officer, had ordered institution of the cases against him. Prabhunath had also described the district administration as “worthless”.

Meanwhile, a non-bailable warrant of arrest was issued against Prabhunath by acting chief judicial magistrate (Saran) Mohammad Maimullah and his personal secretary Jitendra Singh under sections 124(A), 353, 427, 188, 143, 36(1) amounting to sedition, violation of model code of conduct and causing obstruction in discharge of official duty.

Prabhunath had reportedly broken the barrier and created hindrance in discharge of official duty in the district collectorate.

During his address at the zila school ground on April 12, Prabhunath had asked the voters to press the button of the EVMs not for once, twice or thrice but for hundreds of times without any fear. “The administration is worthless in the sense that it has miserably failed to ensure that the voters of weaker sections cast their votes without any fear or duress,” Prabhunath is learnt to have told the gathering.

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