As the Election Commission (EC) has announced election schedules for five states, it has spelt out comprehensive instructions to crack its whip on illegal expenditure during the polling season.
The EC has undertaken several initiatives to maintain close scrutiny over the election expenditure of the candidates, including GPS-monitored flying squads, video surveillance team and involvement of investigation directorates of Income Tax Department among others.
For the purpose of effective monitoring of movement of funds, the EC has asked the state excise departments and police authorities to keep a close watch on production, distribution, sale and storage of liquor and other intoxicants (including narcotics) during the election process.
‘The Investigation Directorate of Income Tax Dept has been asked to open an Air Intelligence Unit at the Airports of these states to gather intelligence and take necessary action against movement of large sum of money in these states,’ the EC notification stated.
The candidates have also been advised to open a separate bank account to fund for election expenditure. All expenses for the purpose of election shall be incurred from that very account. The EC intends to maintain greater transparency through this and also enable swift and easy monitoring of expenses.
As Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh are set for the general elections to the state legislative assemblies, the EC directives on expenditure monitoring will prove crucial in checking flow of black money.
Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said: ‘All expenses above Rs. 20,000 have to be out of bank accounts to be set up by the candidates and the payment has to be through cheques.’
He added: ‘There will be strict monitoring mechanism to check black money during elections.’ Following are the initiatives taken up by the Election commission to strengthen the expenditure monitoring mechanism: