Thiruvananthapuram: State police chief Lokanath Behera said that Crime Branch will investigate the case of missing postal ballots in Kerala. The probe follows the complaint that 33 police officers of Bekal Police Station in Kasaragod, who were on Lok Sabha election duty on April 23, were not allowed postal ballots.

Meanwhile, the Crime Branch is conducting inquiries into the allegations of missing postal ballots of police officers in other districts of the state too. Behera had also said that strict action would be taken against the officers if they are found guilty.  

According to sources, a total of 44 police officers who were on election duty had applied for postal ballots before April 12. Among them, only 11 policemen were issued postal ballots. Four days ago, the policemen had complained to the collector pointing out the lapse in the issue of postal votes. Though no action was taken, the collector said that all those who applied for postal votes were allowed to vote.

The complaint regarding the “postal ballot scam” came to the fore after a voice message originating from one of the WhatsApp groups of police personnel went viral. The voice message contains a conversation between two policemen, wherein one policeman is heard asking another to give him the postal ballots. These postal ballots needed to be handed over to a police association leader.

Even before the Lok Sabha election, the police headquarters had issued guidelines for postal votes. Over 58,000 policemen were deployed for election duty. Earlier, the police association had defended the allegations of rigging in postal votes saying that these things do not happen with the knowledge of the police force.

Police personnel had to sign and collect the ballot paper personally. There is no rule stating that the ballot paper should be returned personally by the voter.