Election Commission (EC) has directed for a stepped up vigil across Tamil Nadu in order to curb use of black money and other illegal inducements during the forthcoming Assembly polls in the state on May 16.
The state has seen the maximum cash seizure, at over Rs 47 crore till now out of the total Rs 70 crore, amongst all the five poll-bound states and hence the poll body has issued fresh directives for undertaking several latest measures like enhancing the number of central expenditure observers in the state and intensifying search and seizure operations by both the Income Tax department and the police.
"The Commission has directed vigilance and monitoring to be stepped up across the state in the run up to the elections and number of such search and seizure actions will be further intensified to curb any such unaccounted money gaining access to the electoral process.
"Movement of cash, liquor and gift items will be strictly monitored. Strict action will be taken against persons attempting to induce voters by bribing," the EC on Sunday said in a statement.
The Commission, it said, has directed all enforcement agencies in unequivocal terms that they should come down heavily on the offenders in all such cases.
"Prejudiced conduct of any member of election expenditure monitoring team will also be viewed very seriously and strict action will be taken against such erring personnel," the fresh directives said.
In order to ensure a fair playing ground in the state during the polls, the EC has ordered increase in the number of flying squads and surveillance teams, inclusion of officials from the central government and central PSUs in the flying squads, deployment of central police forces among others.
Teams of the IT department and others have conducted a number of search operations in the state since polls were announced and in one such incident in Karur district it seized saris, dhoti and similar items worth Rs one crore recently.
"Teams of special observers have been deployed in the state to review the preparedness. Further, the number of expenditure observers has been increased several times.
"Probationary officers of the Indian Police Service will also be deployed in each district to actively participate in expenditure monitoring and operation of the flying squads," it said.
A total of 702 flying squads and 712 surveillance teams are operating in the state for curbing the use of black money and other illegal inducements during the one-phase polls in the state on May 16.
"The Commission has also directed to mount the campaign for ethical voting and encourage members of political parties, candidates and voters at large to take pledge for ethical voting," it said.
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