The elections to the 21st Central Council and the 20th Regional Councils of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) ran into rough weather after a booth capturing incident. At least four unidentified men, including one toting a pistol, stormed an ICAI election booth at Vaishali (near Ghaziabad) on Saturday, tampering the ballot box and stuffing ballot papers, sources said.
The returning officer to the elections and ICAI Secretary, Mr T. Karthikeyan, confirmed the incident and added that a First Information Report (FIR) had been lodged with a police station.
The ICAI President, Mr Uttam Prakash Agarwal, however, denied the booth-capturing incident. “No such instance of booth capturing has so far been brought to my notice,” he said.
Mr Karthikeyan declined to comment on whether any decision has been taken on re-poll at the same region. The polling booth, which was manned by a senior Deputy Director of the ICAI, came under the central region of the ICAI.
This polling booth had two ballot boxes – one each for the Central Council and the Regional Council. The officer in-charge informed the ICAI secretary about the booth capture.
The official is understood to have rushed to the Vaishali booth with officers of the Institute, sources said. The police were also called in.
It is learnt that only the Central Council box was tampered with. In all, 14 candidates from the central region are in the fray for positions in the Central Council.
The incident came as a shock to the chartered accountants fraternity. This was the first time in the history of the ICAI that a booth capturing incident had occurred at Council elections, a top ICAI official said.