Two polling officials were suspended on Friday night by the returning officer of Kishanganj in Baran district for “negligence”. Of the 12 machines the two were ferrying from the store to the warehouse, one fell off on the way, the Baran collector said. It was, officials say, an “unpolled” back-up unit. The machine was later found on NH-27 near Mugawali Road in Shahabad area of Kishanganj assembly constituency.

The two officials suspended are Abdul Rafique and Naval Singh Patwari, said Kishanganj returning officer Chandan Dubey. “It was an unpolled ballot unit, which is kept in the reserved category. They (officials) were bringing 12 machines from the store to the warehouse for submission. One of those fell off from their vehicle and they did not realise it. They are suspended with immediate effect for negligence,” said Baran collector Satyapal Singh Bhadia.

Rafique, an ILR employee at Shahabad tehsil, and Patwari will report at the district headquarters during the suspension period, said the order issued by the collector on Friday night based on factual report sent by SDM Kishanganj.

Earlier, after an EVM was reportedly found at the residence of a BJP candidate, the Election Commission had ordered the removal of returning officer Mahaveer Singh of Pali assembly seat. According to the poll panel, a sector officer carrying a reserve machine had gone to the BJP candidate’s house following which the sector officer was removed.