Just three days before the Karnataka Assembly elections, nearly 10,000 fake voter ID cards were seized from an apartment in Bengaluru's Jalahalli area on Tuesday night.
The Election Commission of Karnataka confirmed that they have recovered 9,746 voter ID cards which appear to be of genuine electors.
The EC said that an FIR has been registered and further investigations will be carried out. Firm action will be taken as and when new information on the matter is unearthed, it added.
The voting for the assembly elections in Karnataka is on May 12, while the counting is on May 15.
The voter ID cards were found during a surprise visit to a house in Parkview apartments, which belongs to Manjula Nanjamuri and was allegedly rented to a person named Rakesh. The ID cards were found in packed boxes and bundles inside the house with names and phone numbers.
In addition, five laptops, one printer and two large steel trunks with counterfoils strips resembling acknowledgment slips of form 6 used for new addition of names onto the electoral rolls were also recovered during the raid.
The chief electoral officer for Karnataka, Sanjiv Kumar said that there is a need for further inquiry. The case is being closely monitored and appropriate action will be taken on polling in Raja Rajeshwari Nagar constituency, under which the apartment is located.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has demanded countermanding of elections in this constituency in light of the seizure of fake voter IDs. The BJP had also alleged that the cards were seized from Congress’s Raja Rajeshwari Nagar constituency candidate Muniratna.
The Congress, in the meantime, refuted allegations and countered that the apartment, in fact, belonged to a BJP leader. Congress leader Randeep Surjewala, in a media interaction, alleged that the owner of the apartment, Manjula Nanjamuri, is a BJP leader and an ex-corporator. He added that the person named Rakesh, to whom it has been rented, is Nanjamuri's son, who contested the corporation election on a BJP ticket in 2015.
The Congress also claimed that the apartment was raided by BJP workers and not by the police or officials from the Election Commission.
In response to the Congress' allegations, Union minister Sadananda Gowda took to Twitter and said that it was a conspiracy by the Congress.