EC appoints new officer to assist CEO

‘IRS official will help in implementing expenditure control measures’

Published - April 07, 2017 02:00 am IST - CHENNAI

District Election Officer D. Karthikeyan flagging off bikes with micro observers at R.K. Nagar.

District Election Officer D. Karthikeyan flagging off bikes with micro observers at R.K. Nagar.

Stepping up its efforts to ensure a free and fair bypoll for the Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar Assembly constituency, the Election Commission (EC) on Thursday sent an Indian Revenue Service officer, Vikram Batra, to Chennai to “assist the State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO Rajesh Lakhoni) in implementing expenditure control measures.”

The EC has also launched round-the-clock mobile patrol teams to crack down on attempts to bribe voters.

The constituency, which is witnessing a high-voltage battle between two AIADMK factions for the former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s political legacy, has come under the scanner with parties accusing each other of distributing money and gifts to woo voters. Against this backdrop, Mr. Batra, who reached Chennai on Thursday, met Mr. Lakhoni before visiting the Assembly constituency.

When contacted, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi told The Hindu , “Mr. Batra is Director (Expenditure monitoring) at Election Commission of India Headquarters. He will assist CEO, Tamil Nadu, in implementing expenditure control measures. The EC has full trust in CEO TN.”

Sources in the EC here said that Mr. Batra would be attached to the Office of the CEO in Chennai, would function parallelly with the CEO and would report directly to the EC in Delhi.

“He has gone to assess and facilitate the work of enforcement agencies,” a source said.

Markings outside houses

When The Hindu drew his attention to the issue of markings found outside several houses in the constituency, indicating possible money distribution, Mr. Batra said, “The Commission is seized of the matter and we will look into the issue.”

To a query on whether he would call for an all-party meeting, he said, “I think so.”

The officer would remain in Chennai till the byelection gets over on April 12.

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