Close watch being kept on movement of unaccounted cash

To prevent use of “money power” or “malpractices” in the revised schedule of the May 3 biennial election for the two Rajya Sabha seats from Jharkhand, the Election Commission has introduced several measures to tighten the process and prevent “horse trading”. The notification for the revised schedule was issued on Monday.

The Commission has appointed an “election expenditure” observer to keep a close watch on any movement of unaccounted cash during the polls. It has also directed the Director-General of Income Tax (Investigation), Patna, to keep a strict vigil at the airport, railway stations, important hotels, farm houses, hawala agents, financial brokers, cash couriers and other suspicious agencies/persons to check movement of undisclosed cash. The National and State political parties have been advised to exercise restraint while carrying cash.

Similarly each candidate has been asked to submit the account of election expenses along with an affidavit before the Returning Officer within seven days from the date of declaration of results.

The Chief Electoral Officer of Jharkhand has been asked to set up a complaint monitoring control room and 24x7 call centre to receive complaints from the public about malpractices. Flying Squads and Static Surveillance Teams have been constituted to attend to such complaints of malpractices.

The polls, originally held on March 30, were countermanded and later rescinded as local IT authorities seized Rs.2.15 crore in cash from a vehicle belonging to a relative of an independent candidate which was allegedly meant for distribution among the voting MLAs. This happened a few hours before the beginning of the poll. Now the case has been transferred to the CBI for a probe.The elections are being held due to the retirement of Rajya Sabha members S.S. Ahluwalia and Ms. Mabel Rebello on April 2.

In the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly (one seat is vacant), each candidate for the RS poll has to secure a minimum of 27 votes for victory and none of the parties has the strength in the House. While the ruling BJP-JMM alliance has 18 members each, the Congress has 13, the JVM 11, the AJSU and the RJD 5 each, the Janata Dal (U) 3, the MSS one and others six.

  • “Election expenditure” observer appointed

  • 24x7 call centre set up to receive complaints