EC writes to political parties on black money
The Commission, in this context, has written a letter to all recognised political parties in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur, enlisting the steps it has undertaken to "curb use of money power during elections".
"In order to maintain the purity of elections and in particular to bring transparency in the process of elections, it is advised that political parties avoid transactions in cash and should instruct their office bearers, officials, agents and candidates not to carry huge cash during the ensuing process of elections," the EC wrote in its December 26 letter.
The Commission has advised candidates to open separate bank accounts for their election expenses and to make all election expenses through the said bank accounts.
The EC has also issued fresh directions to the chiefs of Income Tax (Investigation) department in all these states to "keep vigil over" financial brokers and hawala agents including keeping track on illegal movement of cash at airports and through other transit locations. .
"…instances are reported to Commission and also in media that cash, liquor and several utility items are being used in a clandestine manner during the process of elections for bringing influence on voters.
"Such distribution of cash, liquor or any other item for gratification of the voters is bribery and is punishable under the Indian Penal Code and is also a corrupt practice under the Representation of People Act," the Commission said in its letter.
The EC also asked all the parties to ensure that any fund provided by the party to its candidates for election purpose should be reflected in the day-to-day account of election expenditure of the candidate.
"The Commission has also advised candidates to open separate bank accounts for their election expenses and to make all election expenses through the said bank accounts. The parties are also required to maintain and lodge the accounts before the Commission after the election is over," the EC said.
The EC had recently announced a seven-phased poll in Uttar Pradesh between February 4 and 28, while assembly elections in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa will be held in a single-phase.
Punjab and Uttarakhand will go to polls on January 30, while they will be held on January 28 in Manipur and on March 3 in Goa. The counting of votes in all the states will be held on March 4.