A week after its demand for an inquiry into the company of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) youth wing office bearer instrumental in handling the social media of the chief electoral officer (CEO), Maharashtra, in the run-up to the 2019 state Assembly elections, the state Congress unit on Friday has questioned the appointment of Baldev Singh as the state's Chief Electoral Officer. The BJP led government had transferred the incumbent Ashwani Kumar as the CEO and appointed Baldev Singh as his successor.
The Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman Sachin Sawant has questioned whether the process of appointment of the Chief Electoral Officer was completely dubious and was he working under pressure?
Singh has already tweeted, “The allegations are denied in totality. Signpost’s role was limited to the social awareness of voters; there was no question of sharing any other data. DGIPR has scrutinised and confirmed that Signpost has no political link. The impression created by RTI activist Saket Gokhale that Dave and his company were given a contract is baseless.” He further clarified that DGIPR had appointed Signpost India Pvt Ltd owned by Dave and not Social Central Solutions.
However, Sawant said, before his appointment as Chief Electoral Officer, Maharashtra, Singh was on the central deputation as Special Economic Zone Development (SEEPZ) commissioner. He alleged that the Central Vigilance Commission had, on May 11, 2018, directed the Commerce Ministry to conduct an inquiry against him after allegations of misconduct were lodged against him during his tenure.
Sawant said, before Singh’s appointment as CEO, why did the Election Commission not seek the Central Vigilance Commission’s opinion. “Did the then Maharashtra government inform the Election Commission about this matter?” And did the Fadnavis government know this?’’ he queried.
However, Singh has denied allegations leveled by Sawant, terming them baseless, misleading and mischievous. He informed that the Commerce Ministry, in its letter, had not mentioned his name. Before his appointment as SEEPZ commissioner, the agency was appointed and the contract was given.