Friday, March 4, 2011

EC asks banks to inform them on huge cash transactions

Chennai: In a bid to curb money power during the April 13th Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu, electoral authorities have asked banks to inform them about huge cash transactions and said they would seek IT department's assistance to keep track of cash flow.

Video Surveillance Teams, Video Viewing Teams and Accounting Teams would be in place to keep a tab on various poll-related activities including tracking a candidate's expenditure, Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar told reporters.

Detailing their efforts for the polls, Kumar said, among others, the Income Tax department's assistance will be sought in tracking cash flow. Besides this, banks have been asked to inform them about "large cash transactions".

He did not however, divulge details on the transaction range. 
This time, candidates have to submit more information pertaining to their assets such as furnishing information on dependents and providing their PAN card numbers, he said. A candidate can spend up to Rs 16 lakh as poll expenditure, he added. 

Kumar said the Election Commission had ordered stoppage of distribution of free Colour TV sets, a flagship programme of ruling DMK, as a "pre-emptive" measure to ensure there were no complaints. 

"It is pre-emptive move so that there are no complaints," he said. 

Answering queries on the matter, he said there cannot be any more new beneficiaries and such steps would ensure a "level playing field" for all parties. 

To a question on reservation by political parties including the DMK over the EC's polling schedule, he said it was not a Tamil Nadu specific one and the EC had fixed the date after considering many factors. 

While parties are left with just around 15 days for campaigning, they had also cited exam season and Tamil New Year festivities while seeking to change the poll date. 

He declined to comment on Chief Minister and DMK president M Karunanidhi slamming the EC for its "hasty" announcement of the schedule for the elections. 

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