New Delhi, Nov 27: The Election Commission has declared 53 assembly seats as “expenditure sensitive” and prone to “high illegal funding and corrupt practices” in poll bound Uttar Pradesh.
A high-level team of the panel has also begun a tour of the state starting today to chalk out preparations in this regard with the Income Tax department and other enforcement authorities for curbing use of illegal funds during polls.
The EC team is expected to meet the Director General of Investigations (Income Tax) and his team in Lucknow to review the deployment of I-T officials in these money ‘sensitive' constituencies.
“The EC team is arriving in the state for analysing poll preparedness and checking measures put in place to curb use of money power during elections in the state. A total of 53 constituencies have been declared as expenditure sensitive in Uttar Pradesh which is the largest in all the states going to polls in 2012,” a top I-T official said.
Some of the seats identified as “expenditure sensitive” include Lucknow, Mathura, Agra, Gautam Budh Nagar, Mainpuri, Bareilly, Rai Bareilly, Chitrakoot, Gonda, Azamgarh and Gazipur.
According to EC rules, an ‘expenditure sensitive constituency' is identified “on the basis of past history, profile of the constituency and the state Chief Election Commissioner's office identifies such seats which are prone to high expenditure and corrupt practices”.
For such constituencies, the EC has asked all states which will go to polls next year along with Uttar Pradesh—
Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Himachal Pradesh—that “there will be two assistant expenditure observers, two flying squads and more number of static surveillance teams and video surveillance teams”.
Taking a strong stand on expenditure and funding of polls by candidates, the EC had recently disqualified UP MLA Umlesh Yadav for incorrect statement of election expenditure incurred on ‘news items' in two Hindi dailies.
This was the first case of action by the EC to fight ‘Paid News' syndrome.
The EC, for the first time, has also asked the elite Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), functioning under Finance Ministry, to sift through their records for any instance of information about the assets and liabilities of candidates participating in the polls in these states including in UP.
The FIU receives regular Suspicious Transaction Reports and Cash Transaction Reports from banks, insurance companies and intermediaries as per regulations stipulated under anti-money laundering laws.
“The FIU may extend necessary cooperation to the Income Tax department in specific cases in sending information on suspicious transaction reports and about withdrawal of cash exceeding specified limits from any bank account maintained within the respective states going for polls.
“Besides, the I-T (investigation) and FIU will download from EC website the copies of affidavits declaring assets and liabilities by the candidates. The FIU will also verify the information available with them pertaining to the candidates and send the report to the Director General of Income Tax (investigation) of the state through the Central Board of Direct Taxes,” the EC had said.