Expressing concerns over alleged attempts being made by certain groups to "discredit" the Election Commission by casting aspersions on its neutrality, a group of former civil servants, defence personnel, judges and academicians wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind on Tuesday.
The letter, signed by nearly 80 former civil servants, defence officers, judges, academicians and professionals, said "slurs" are being levelled against the poll body and doubts are being raised on its ability to hold free and fair elections.
Among those who signed the letter included former Delhi Police commissioner R S Gupta, Air Marshal (retd) R C Bajpai, former diplomat Ashok Kumar, Lt. Gen. A K Sahni.
The letter was in response to an earlier plea made by a group of former civil servants expressing concern over the credibility and functioning of the Election Commission for failing to deal with alleged cases of poll violations, particularly those involving the ruling party.
"We have come to express concerns over attempts being made by certain groups to discredit the EC which has been time-tested and great credibility not just in India, but all across the world," the letter to the president said.
This, the letter added, gives rise to a suspicion that a deliberate attempt is being made by groups with "vested interests" to denigrate such institutions of democracy by undermining their position.
"This appears to be part of a larger design to influence its decision-making and to make it conform to a particular line of behaviour and thought," the letter said.
Referring to the objections raised by the group on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's biopic, the letter said, "The very people who have cast aspersions on the independence of the Election Commission have appeared to have succeeded in influencing the decision of the poll body in banning the biopic made by an independent producer. It may be noted that the decision was delivered only after release of the open letter by the group of (former) civil servants."
Last week, the Election Commission banned the release of the biopic, titled "PM Narendra Modi", until its further orders.
The letter also pointed out that the said group is trying to stop a 10-part web series 'Modi-A Common Man's Journey', five episodes of which have already been screened before the model code of conduct came into effect.