Spl observer to check bribing voters in Karnataka

Spl observer to check bribing voters in Karnataka

The Election Commission has appointed a Special Expenditure Observer for Karnataka to oversee efforts to stop the candidates from spending beyond the limits as well as from bribing the voters with cash and other inducements.

The campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections has not yet gained momentum, but the agencies already seized cash and valuables worth Rs 26.53 crore in Karnataka. The State is among the ones where the Election Commission is sending a Special Expenditure Observer to oversee efforts by the local authorities to curb attempts to bribe voters with cash, liquor and other valuables.

The EC appointed Madhu Mahajan, a retired officer of Indian Revenue Service (IRS), as the Special Expenditure Observer for Karnataka.

Mahajan was Principal Chief Commissioner of Income Tax (North-West Region) till a few months back. She is well experienced in working in Investigation Wing of the Income Tax department and had supervised many successful search and seizure actions unearthing tax evasion in complicated cases, the EC sources said.

The EC appointed her as a Special Expenditure Observer for Tamil Nadu on March 19 last. She was entrusted with the additional responsibility of Karnataka on Tuesday, the poll-panel said in a press-release.

The agencies activated by the EC already seized Rs 5.95 crore in cash, 4.90 lakh litres (worth Rs 19.88 crore), 172.11 kilograms of narcotics (worth Rs 0.08 crore), 0.162 kilogram gold and 34 kilograms of silver (worth Rs 0.18 crore) and other valuables worth Rs 0.44 crore from across Karnataka.

Apart from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the EC so far appointed Special Expenditure Observers for six other States – Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Nagaland, Maharashtra and Telangana.

The EC said that the Special Expenditure Observers would be supervising and monitoring the work being done by the electoral machinery in the respective states and ensure stringent and effective enforcement action on intelligence inputs and complaints from people “against all persons or entities trying to induce voters by distributing cash, liquor and freebies in order to vitiate the poll process”.