An FIR was on Saturday filed against senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Lalji Tandon on whose birthday celebrations last Sunday distribution of sarees caused a stampede in which 21 women and a child were killed in Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's Lucknow constituency.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Sharma filed the FIR at the Mahanagar Police Station against Tandon and others under Section 171 (B) of the Indian Penal Code for offering inducements to poor voters in Lucknow to exercise their franchise in favour of the BJP candidate.
Sharma had sent a detailed report of the incident along with clippings of newspapers, which said the organisers of the function had invited women to give them sarees.
The CEO said it had been mentioned in the FIR that as reported in the press the function had taken place in Chandrashekhar Azad Park at which Tandon himself was present and had distributed sarees.
Brijendra Murari Yadav, a former BJP corporator, was named as the organiser of the function.
The CEO said it had been reported that women were invited from faraway places to receive sarees as free gifts. The function was sponsored, managed and organised by BJP workers to provide advantage to the BJP and to brighten the electoral prospects of its candidates.
The saree distribution was a gratification and inducement to women to exercise their electoral right in favour of BJP candidates and to influence the conduct of elections through illegal means, Sharma said.
The model code of conduct was violated, he said adding prohibitory orders under Section 144 were in force at the time of the function but the organisers took no prior permission from district authorities and police officials.
"Inducement to a large number of poor people to exercise their franchise in favour of BJP was proved from the above facts and come in the definition of bribery as defined under section 171 (B) of the Indian Penal Code which is a punishable offence," Sharma said.