Candidates must mention foreign bank accounts in affidavit:EC

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Election Commission
New Delhi, March 25: Seeking to make candidates more accountable, the Election Commission has asked political parties to ensure that those contesting the polls mention their foreign bank accounts and details of investments, assets and liabilities abroad in their affidavits. Though candidates are supposed to enter details of their foreign bank accounts and investments in their affidavits, the EC noticed that several of the candidates were not disclosing such details.

"It has been brought to the notice of the Commission by some NGOs and individuals that some candidates do not disclose details of their accounts in foreign banks, possession of properties or investment overseas along with loans and liabilities outside the country in the affidavit," the poll panel wrote to all recognised national and state political parties recently.

The EC said in a bid to remove any "misgivings in the minds of the people", it wants candidates to include details of their and their spouses' foreign bank accounts, their investments and liabilities abroad.

The move comes after the Supreme Court recently ruled that the returning officer can reject nomination papers of a candidate for non-disclosure and suppression of information, including that of assets and their criminal background.

The EC had told the apex court that by resorting to such tactics, candidates have been able to frustrate voters' right to critical information about themselves. Recently, the EC had introduced an optional facility for candidates to file their affidavits online.

Candidates filing their affidavits online for the Lok Sabha elections cannot leave any column blank as the software being used by the Election Commission will not accept incomplete forms.

PTI

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