Thiruvananthapuram: The Crime Branch investigation report on the controversial postal ballot scam in Kerala stated that major irregularities were found in the distribution of postal ballots by policemen. The investigation report was handed over by state police chief Lokanath Behera to state electoral officer Teeka Ram Meena. 

According to sources, five police personnel were under the scanner of the Crime Branch in connection with the case. Behera also sought more time to investigate the involvement of more officers. 

There are reportedly, about 20,000-25,000 police postal ballots in the state, with a little more than 1,000 postal votes for policemen per parliamentary constituency. 

The probe was conducted after a complaint was registered, alleging 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.

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. 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 of them is heard asking the other 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.