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New police probe in Tower Hamlets

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Police have launched a new probe in relation to last year’s Tower Hamlet’s mayoral election after it was declared void by the High Court last week.

The Metropolitan Police announced this afternoon that a detective superintendent from the force’s homicide and major crime command unit has been appointed to “oversee” a review of the 200-page Election Court judgment that last week declared Lutfur Rahman’s election as mayor in May 2014 void. The civil court found Mr Rahman either personally guilty or “guilty by his agents” of charges including making false statements, bribery, payment of canvassers and undue spiritual influence.

A statement from the Met Police said: “Five new allegations, which had not been previously reported to police, have been identified within that report. Four of those are now being assessed to see if a criminal investigation should be carried out.”

The statement said the fifth allegation could not be investigated as the police had not become aware of it within the one-year time limit under which criminal proceedings can be brought under the Representation of the People Act 1983. The force has been granted an extension to the time limit to investigate the other four allegations. A Met spokesman delined to give details of the substance of the allegations.

The new claims are in addition to the 164 complaints of electoral malpractice in Tower Hamlets reported to the police in the lead-up to, during and after last year’s election on 22 May.

The statement added: “Our review of the High Court report has identified new material that we are now considering in connection with 47 of the allegations originally reported to us.

“As part of the original investigation we supplied early material to the Crown Prosecution Service in connection with four allegations. Two people were cautioned by the Metropolitan Police Service and there is one criminal trial outstanding.”

Jewel Islam, a 39-year-old of Southern Grove, London, is due to appear for trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court on 7 December charged with providing a false statement in nomination papers.

Meanwhile, the Met said it would have “a policing operation in place, including additional officers on duty based at polling stations” across London on 7 May, and across the borough of Tower Hamlets when the mayoral election takes place on 11 June.

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