EC Constitutes Committee To Check Use Of Illegal Money During LS Polls


New Delhi: The Election Commission has set up a high-level committee to check and prevent the use of illegal money during the upcoming Lok Sabha election 2019, said reports on Tuesday.

According to reports, the heads of multiple enforcement, financial and security agencies will be the part of this high-powered committee.

The high-powered panel, which is being called “Multi-department Committee on Election Intelligence’, will see the participation of top officials from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Central Board of Indirect Taxes, Enforcement Directorate, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Central Economic Intelligence Bureau and Financial Intelligence Unit.

Besides, BSF DG Rajni Kant Mishra, CRPF DG Rajeev Bhatnagar, CISF DG Rajesh Ranjan, Sashastra Seema Bal DG S Deswal, Narcotics Control Bureau DG Abhay Kumar, RPF DG Arun Kumar and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security DG Rakesh Asthana will be the invited members of the high-powered committee.

The committee has been set up by the apex poll panel for a coordinated and comprehensive check on the flow of illegal money during the upcoming Lok Sabha election 2019.

The poll panel intends to cover all areas related to flow of illegal money during the elections, from the generation of such funds to the movement of funds across borders and states and its ultimate distribution as a bribe to influence voters ahead of elections, so as to ensure free and fair polls.

Senior bank officials have also been included in the committee to assess extraordinary high bank deposits over the last 2-3 months, according to reports. The spotlight will be on four south Indian states – Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Telangana – where maximum cases of use of illegal money have been reported in recent times.

In a related development, the Supreme Court on Tuesday sought to know from the Centre why it has not yet constituted a permanent mechanism to check on unprecedented increase in the assets or income of political candidates in the last few years.

The apex court had sought a reply from the Union Law Ministry in two weeks. The top court also asked the poll panel to furnish details of the addition and deletion of names in the electoral roll between January 1, 2018, and Jan 1, 2019, by March 28.

Authorities will keep a strict vigil on social media platforms to check the spread of any fake news and hate speech to ensure free and fair polls, Delhi’s Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh had said on March 11.

Authorities have been directed to monitor all forms of the media, including TV radio, social media, like Facebook and Twitter, to check spread of any fake news and hate speech, he said.

Election Commission has also appealed to the people to use the Commission’s ‘cVigil’ app to report any violations of moral code of conduct like use of money, gifts or liquor to influence voters, muscle power to intimidate voters or use of hate speech.

The Lok Sabha Elections 2019 will begin on April 11 and will be held in seven phases, the Election Commission announced on Sunday. The model code of conduct came into immediate effect from March 10 itself and the counting of votes will take place on May 23, 2019.