Birmingham's chief legal officer yesterday rejected claims that he had allowed suspicious postal votes contained in a plastic bag to be counted in last year's election after the intervention of former council leader Sir Albert Bore.
Mirza Ahmad told an election court which is investigating allegations of ballot rigging in the Aston ward that he did not consult with Sir Albert about "any election issues".
Last week, Abdul Aziz, a losing Liberal Democrat candidate in Aston, told the hearing that Mr Ahmad had changed his mind and accepted that the bag of ballot papers taken into an election count in a plastic suit-carrying bag could be counted.
Mr Aziz and fellow Liberal Democrat supporters wanted the bag and its contents, said to amount to 500 to 600 votes, to be investigated and believed they were told by Mr Ahmad that would happen.
However, under cross examination yesterday Mr Ahmad said that by the time he was told of the Nickelby's bag, the ballot papers contained in it were already mixed in with postal votes on the table where counting was taking place.
He also dismissed allegations that he had a "one-sided" conversation with Sir Albert, Aston Labour candidate Muhammad Afzal, and elections officer John Owen, as a "total fabrication by those who wish to make use of lies".
Mr Ahmad said: "I deny that inference from the petitioners that I only confirmed the origins of the Nickelby's bag after I had spoken with Sir Albert Bore.
"To have done so would have been improper and inappropriate in my view. I take my statutory duties very seriously and act fairly at all times."
Ravi Sukul, for the petitioners, said Mr Ahmad was lying when he said supposedly suspicious ballot papers were already mixed in with the votes on the counting table at the time he was told of the bag.
When he was notified of the bag, Mr Ahmad said he sought advice on its origins from other senior electoral officers.
But Mr Sukul said if he knew that suspicious votes were mixed with other ballot papers he could have told the Liberal Democrats protesting about the contents of the bag that he could not have done anything about it at that time.
He said: "I put it to you that it is an absolute true fact that you knew the bag was not mixed with the other votes.
"That is why you went through this trouble of finding other people to answer your questions."
Earlier, the court heard evidence from the returning officer for the Aston ward, Alison Harding, a senior solicitor with the council's legal and democratic services department.
Ms Harding admitted that she was unaware that postal votes had to be contained in sealed ballot boxes before they were counted.
Her comments followed Birmingham's chief returning officer John Owen telling the court on Monday that he had to allow staff to break Rule 82 of voting regulations by permitting ballot papers to be put in plastic shopping bags.