Baramulla, Dec 8: Aiding the Election Commission by keeping a close eye on political parties and deterring them from paying voters, the state police arrested Public Relation Officer and another close aide of Congress leader Taj Mohiuddin for allegedly distributing money to influence votes for December 9, third phase of assembly elections.
A police official told that the duo have been taken into custody from Limber village of Uri district and a report about their ‘misdeed' has been sent to District Election Officer (DC Baramulla).
Police sources told that PRO Iqbal Choudhry and another close aide of Congress candidate Taj Mohiuddin for Uri Assembly segment Master Ghulam Mohuiddin were distributing cash among voters in Limber area of North Kashmir's Baramulla district.
The accused had the voters list and were calling out names of the residents and handing over money to them.
"We received information that some people were distributing money in Limber area and we sent a team of five policemen to nab them. We caught the duo red-handed and lodged them in police station Boniyar," a top police official confirmed to adding that they have accepted that the money was being distributed to influence people to vote for Congress candidate Taj Mohiuddin.
An unemployed voter from the same Assembly segment, Nayeem Ahmed told that Iqbal Choudhry and his aides have so far successfully managed to lure hundreds of voters by distributing money among them.
"By this wrong practice, a bad legislator gets elected as a result people have suffer for six long years," he said.
"The expectation of getting a bribe for casting a favoured vote is one of the "critical factors" that drives the ballot choice amongst Uri voters and this desire is witnessing an upward trend, which is not a good sign," said another educated youth of the Assembly segment adding that strict action should be taken against the accused candidates who encourage such practices.
Allegations baseless, says Taj Mohiuddin
When Contacted, Congress candidate Taj Mohiuddin termed the allegations baseless and accused People's Democratic Party (PDP) of maligning his image.
Taj told that his PRO is a Gazetted Officer who will never indulge in such illegal practices.
"Iqbal had gone there (Limber) in personal capacity to attend a function. When I heard about the allegations, I sent Master Mohiuddin there to enquire about the matter. Both had been picked up by police while the fact is that all the allegations are baseless as everybody knows I never believe in purchasing power," he said.
Meanwhile, Station House Officer Boniyar Police Station, Tariq Ahmed Shah told they are waiting for the permission of DC Baramulla to register an FIR against the duo.
"This matter relates to Election Commission and we can register FIR only after getting approval from Deputy Commissioner who is also District Electoral Officer," he said adding that police has already sent a detailed report about the incident to DEO Baramulla.