Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar has said the media committee of the Election Commission in Tamil Nadu would take a decision on Tuesday on the lone complaint of paid news it has received to date.

Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, Mr. Kumar said if charges of paid news were proved, a complaint on the media outlet guilty of the illegality would be forwarded to the Press Council of India for necessary action. On the candidate side, the advertisement price for the space the particular article occupied on the newspaper would be added to his or her expenditure account.

Asked about television channels backed by political parties which run campaigns, he said a team was monitoring 10 such channels continuously. “If they do it for the party, we cannot interfere as there is no expenditure limit for the parties. If it is for an individual, we will take cognizance.” As on March 27, Mr. Kumar said the commission had seized cash of Rs. 13.16 crore and Rs 6.56 crore worth of non-cash items during checks. Salem topped the chart with Rs 2.32 crore and Chennai followed second with Rs. 2.27 crore.

He said with the notification of elections issued on Saturday, the police in the State were now under the control of the Commission. In the first round of analysis, 9222 booths in the State had been identified as ‘critical.’

Mr. Kumar said only the AIADMK and the DMK had sought the approval for campaigns in social media. As far as others were concerned, the commission would send notices if they were found using campaign material on social media websites, he clarified.

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