NEW DELHI, Feb 21 � Ahead of Assembly polls in five states, the Election Commission has stepped up measures to keep a strict vigil on the election expenditure of candidates in order to check misuse of money power in elections, reports PTI.
In detailed instructions to CEO�s of Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam, Kerala and Puducherry where assembly polls are due sometime in May, EC said that distribution of money, liquor, or any other item to the electors with intent to influence them comes under the definition of bribery and is an offence under the IPC.
�Yet another form of expenditure which is coming to the fore in recent times is on Surrogate Advertisements, Paid News etc,� EC�s Expenditure Monitoring Division said.
�The systems should be robust enough to catch such expenditure as well, and not only include it in the account of election expenditure, but also take action against the wrongdoers under the relevant provisions of the law, including lodging of complaints before the police/competent magistrate, if required,� the EC said.
Maintenance of the day-to-day account of election expenditure by the candidate is mandatory, it said, adding though the account of election expenditure is required to be submitted within 30 days from the date of the declaration of the result, the monitoring has to be done on a regular basis during the campaign period for it to be of any use.
Elaboraging on the structure of the Expenditure monitoring mechanism, the EC said that whenever a complaint regarding distribution of cash or liquor or any other item is received, the flying squads shall reach the spot immediately.
The squad will gather necessary evidence, seize the items of bribe, gather evidences and record statement of the witnesses and persons and send a report immediately to the RO with a copy to the SP.
The RO will issue notice to the candidate with regard to the incidents of Paid News in consultation with the Expenditure Observer for not showing the expenditure on such publication. The Expenditure Observer shall send a report of Paid News along with copy to the Election Commission within 24 hours, it said.