Chitwan, May 30

A three-member panel, formed by the Election Commission to probe the tearing of ballot papers in Bharatpur Metropolitan City on Sunday night, returned to Kathmandu after a field study today.

The EC had formed a panel headed by the commission’s joint attorney Gita Prasad Timsina. Joint Secretary Mahesh Acharya at the Ministry of Home affairs and DIG Kedar Man Singh Bhandari were its members. The team had reached Chitwan yesterday to start investigation.

Gambhir Ghimire, Assistant Election Officer at District Election Office, said the probe panel today held separate talks with the leaders of Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, CPN-Maoist Centre and the Rastriya Prajatantra Party.

Chief District Officer Narayan Prasad Bhatta, Nepal Police Regional Chief DIG Ganesh KC, Sri Mahendradal Battalion Bharatpur Chief Surendra Sapkota and under-secretary Krishna Adhikari, among others, met the parties’ representatives separately during discussion.

Earlier yesterday evening, the panel had held discussion with chief election officer, chief district officer, chief of district police office, Armed Police Force deployed at the vote counting venue and election officials involved in vote counting.

The Election Commission will decide whether to hold re-election or continue vote counting at Ward No 19 of Bharatpur Metropolitan City as per the report of the probe panel on Wednesday.  A few activists loyal to the CPN-MC tore some ballot papers when the vote counting was going on in Bharatpur on Sunday night at around 11:44pm. Security personnel had arrested two persons on the charge of tearing ballot papers.

Nepal Police and Nepali Army personnel have been guarding the covered hall of Bharatpur Metropolitan City, the vote counting venue, after the incident. Of the 29 wards of the metropolis, vote counting in Ward No 19 was going on while counting in Ward No 20 was yet to begin at the time the scuffle started.