Bihar assembly polls: EC to hold session for expenditure observers

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New Delhi, Sept 14: The Election Commission (EC) will hold a day-long session on Wednesday for close to 50 poll observers who will be deployed to check flow of illegal money and other inducements during the forthcoming Assembly elections in Bihar.

The conference and briefing session on September 16 is expected to be addressed by the full Election Commission led by Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and ECs A K Joti and O P Rawat.

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EC to keep a close eye on Bihar

The observers, later in the day, will be briefed about the protocols and election expenditure monitoring framework created by the EC to ensure a level playing field during the polls.

"The EC has appointed close to 80 observers for the Bihar polls who are drawn from various central services. A maximum of 48 officers are from the Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax) and they will be briefed about their task on September 16. These observers will be allotted their respective constituencies and area during the conference," a senior official said.

Observers will be monitoring flying squads, static and video surveillance teams to not only monitor black money but also the production, distribution, sale and storage of liquor and other intoxicants during the polls period. They will also bring under their watch instances of paid news

The EC has also directed the Income Tax department to activate its intelligence units at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) here and at the airports in Patna and Ranchi to check movement of cash through the air route during the polls.

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Banks and snoop wings under the Union Finance Ministry have also been asked to report withdrawal of large sums of money and other suspicious transactions in the state to the special election expenditure monitoring wing headquartered here and also to the Chief Election Officer of Bihar.

"The expenditure observers will be in constant touch with the EC and will report important developments on this front on on a regular basis. The observers will also keep a check on the expenditure registers which will have to be mandatorily maintained by candidates trying their luck at the hustings," they said.

The polls to the 243-seat Bihar Assembly will be held in five phases beginning October 12. The counting of votes will take place on November 8.

PTI

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