Widow of TMC candidate who died of COVID-19 wants culpable homicide case against top EC officials

TMC’s Kajal Sinha tested positive for COVID-19 on April 21, died on April 25
Kajal Sinha

The widow of a TMC candidate, who died recently after testing positive for COVID-19, on Wednesday filed a police complaint seeking registration of a case of culpable homicide against senior Election Commission officials for their alleged failure to check the spread of the disease that led to her husband’s death.

Nandita Sinha has claimed in her complaint to Khardaha police station that her husband Kajal Sinha, the TMC candidate for the Khardaha assembly seat in North 24 Parganas, tested positive for COVID-19 on April 21 and died on April 25.

She alleged he contracted the disease “while being compelled to carry out his public duties and election campaign as a candidate due to self-serving blind motives of the ECI”.

She has sought action against Deputy Election Commissioner Sudip Jain and other officials of the poll panel under IPC sections 269 and 270 related to negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life etc., and section 304 of Indian Penal Code pertaining to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

The development came after the Madras High Court, on Monday, castigated the Election Commission over the second wave of COVID-19 in the country, holding it “singularly” responsible for its spread and calling the poll panel “the most irresponsible institution”. It went to the extent of saying that its officials may be booked for murder.

The complainant said the TMC had written to the EC, requesting for clubbing together the polling for the last three phases of West Bengal assembly elections due to the spurt in COVID-19 cases.

“The ECI chose to continue with its eight-phased polls in the state of West Bengal resulting in the death of hundreds of people including my husband, turning a blind eye towards ensuring compliance of COVID-related protocols,” she alleged.

She alleged the Election Commission “completely disregarded its obligations to public health and safety”.

Meanwhile, sources in the poll panel said in New Delhi a factual report has been sought from the West Bengal police chief on the issue.

“Despite being in control of the law and order of the state and deployment of central paramilitary forces, the ECI has intentionally failed to take steps to ensure that COVID-19 protocols are maintained at public/political rallies/meetings,” Nandita Sinha wrote in her complaint.

She alleged the Election Commission was liable for her husband’s death and demanded “immediate steps against Sudip Jain, deputy election commissioner, and other officials of the ECI responsible.”

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