EC steps up measures to keep misuse of money in polls in check

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New Delhi, Feb 21 (PTI) Ahead of Assembly polls in fivestates, the Election Commission has stepped up measures tokeep a strict vigil on the election expenditure of candidatesin order to check misuse of money power in elections.

In detailed instructions to CEO''s of Tamil Nadu, WestBengal, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry where assembly polls aredue sometime in May, EC said that distribution of money,liquor, or any other item to the electors with intent toinfluence them comes under the definition of bribery and is anoffence under the IPC.

"Yet another form of expenditure which is coming to thefore in recent times is on Surrogate Advertisements, Paid Newsetc," EC''s Expenditure Monitoring Division said.

"The systems should be robust enough to catch suchexpenditure as well, and not only include it in the account ofelection expenditure, but also take action against thewrongdoers under the relevant provisions of the law, includinglodging of complaints before the police/competent magistrate,if required," the EC said.

Maintenance of the day-to-day account of electionexpenditure by the candidate is mandatory, it said, addingthough the account of election expenditure is required to besubmitted within 30 days from the date of the declaration ofthe result, the monitoring has to be done on a regular basisduring the campaign period for it to be of any use.

Elaboraging on the structure of the Expendituremonitoring mechanism, the EC said that whenever a complaintregarding distribution of cash or liquor or any other item isreceived, the flying squads shall reach the spot immediately.

The squad will gather necessary evidence, seize theitems of bribe, gather evidences and record statement of thewitnesses and persons and send a report immediately to theRO with a copy to the SP.

The RO will issue notice to the candidate with regard tothe incidents of Paid News in consultation with theExpenditure Observer for not showing the expenditure on suchpublication. The Expenditure Observer shall send a report ofPaid News along with copy to the Election Commission within 24hours, it said. (More) PTI MS

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