Poll panel to keep hawk eye on all cash transactions

Monday, February 14, 2011

KOLKATA - Withdrawing more than Rs.1 lakh from any bank after the notification of assembly poll dates by the Election Commission will be looked at suspiciously and all kinds of expenditure from that amount will be monitored, a senior official said Monday.

This is one of the many new directives issued by the Election Commission in the modified Expenditure Monitoring Guidelines for the 2011 assembly elections, state Joint Chief Electoral Officer Dibyendu Sarkar said.

Instructions in the new guidelines have been incorporated in a much more compact and concise manner than the previous one. While that one was 158 pages thick, this one is just 40 pages without annexure. However, keeping in mind the success of the commission’s role in the Bihar assembly elections, several new instructions have been incorporated this year, Sarkar said.

According to the new guidelines, the expenditure observers will be present in their respective constituencies a day after the notification of the poll dates by the commission and will stay there till the end of elections.

At least one expenditure observer will be posted in every constituency, and more than five constituencies will not be assigned to one person.

The chief electoral officer can declare any constituency as an Expenditure Sensitive Constituency after analysing its past expenditure records. In that case, one or more assistant election observers will be assigned there to monitor the expenditure of the candidates, said Sarkar.

He said that in the new guidelines, the designation of the micro-observers has been changed to assistant expenditure observers and their deployment and training will be monitored by the expenditure observer along with other functions like inspection of expenditure of each candidate at least thrice, monitoring all kinds of seizures, and keeping an eye on the publication of any kind of paid news.

The purpose of booking community halls during the polling days will be thoroughly scrutinised. In the guidelines, it has also been mentioned that the district level observers should monitor all kinds of food and token distribution in large gatherings in a particular place,” Sarkar said.

The accounts of self-help groups and NGOs will be thoroughly scrutinised to check any kind of unlawful transaction through them. Besides, the expenditure monitoring cell will carry out special drive to stop distribution of gift articles, tokens and cash distributions by the candidates,” he said.

A flying squad will be set up in every police station to track the flow of any kind of illegal cash during the elections, while static surveillance teams will be deployed at the checkposts for same purpose,” he said.

An inspector general rank officer from the state police headquarters will be appointed as nodal officer for coordinating the officials deployed for expenditure monitoring, he added.

Filed under: Politics

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