The Election Commission has suspended a Bengal election officer who says he slept overnight with an electronic voting machine (EVM) at the home of his relative, a Trinamool Congress leader. The EVM and VVPAT will not be included in the elections, according to the election commission this morning.

Tapan Sarkar, the deputed officer for Howrah’s Sector 17 in AC 177 Uluberia Uttar, was discovered to have taken a reserve EVM to the home of his politician-relative to sleep-over. Authorities also stated that charges for major punishment will now be filed against the official. Police officers related to him will also face charges, they added.

“This is a flagrant breach of the Election Commission of India’s orders, for which the Sector Officer has been suspended and charges for major punishment will be filed,” the Commission said in a statement. “The officer’s field police have already been ordered to be dismissed.”

According to the Commission, General Observer Neeraj Pawan has tested all of the EVM’s seals, which have now been placed in a different room under the observer’s custody.

The incident occurred during a tense election season in the state, with both the ruling Trinamool Congress and the opposition BJP accusing each other of attempting to game the machine to their benefit.

It also comes just days after an EVM was detected in the private vehicle of a BJP official in neighboring Assam.

West Bengal goes to the polls today in the third of its eight-phased Assembly elections. Here the fate of 31 constituencies spread across three districts is at stake. These 31 Assembly seats spread across South 24 Parganas, Howrah and Hooghly are crucial both for the Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party. The battle between these (TMC VS BJP) is hidden from no one and the Bengal election is the ground they both want to conquer.