Thiruvananthapuram: Civil police officer Vaisakh from the Indian Reserve Battalion has been suspended in connection with alleged manipulation of Lok Sabha postal votes of police officers.

Vaisakh had earlier posted a video message on a WhatsApp group of police personnel. The voice message was that of Vaisakh asking another policeman to give him the postal ballots, which had to be handed over to a pro-CPM police association leader.

Also read: Kerala DGP: 2 cops from state behind poll rigging with postal ballots

The suspended officer was once a member of chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan's security team. He is also a close relative of a police association district leader.

The suspension came a day after the state police chief Loknath Behera ordered the crime branch to probe into the irregularities and malpractices found in handling of postal ballots of police officials on election duty.

Earlier, Kerala's director general of police (DGP) Lokanath Behera had recommended action against those police officers, who committed poll rigging with postal ballots.

The DGP had submitted a report to the chief electoral officer Teeka Ram Meena, based on the information received from Intelligence ADGP TK Vinod Kumar. In the letter, the DGP stated that the provision of the Representation of the People Act was violated in the case. He also added that more investigation is needed.

The investigation has been led by the state criminal intelligence chief, who had earlier made a statement that political party leaders threatened the members of Kerala Police Association and seized their postal ballots.

Further investigation in the case will be conducted by Thrissur SP Sudharshan, under the supervision of IG S Sreejith. Meanwhile, the crime branch will be also be investigating into any other wrongdoings in the past elections.

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.

The 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.