New Delhi, Apr 27: The Election Commission has asked the RBI to inquire into the conduct of Allahabad Bank and United Bank of India which made drafts of Rs 1.33 crore for Trinamool Congress in poll-bound West Bengal, allegedly violating its guidelines on election expenditure.
The commission has directed the RBI's Deputy Governor in Kolkata to conduct the probe into the conduct of the two banks.
The EC has also issued a letter to the political party asking it to explain the "circumstances under which the pay orders got issued by deposit of cash, in violation of RBI guidelines without routing it through the bank account and the Commission's instructions on the subject (election expenditure)."
"It has been reported that your party (TMC) has got issued pay orders aggregating to Rs 1.23 crore by the United Bank of India on March 23, 2011 in favour of Ms Visual Audio and draft of Rs 10 lakh by Allahabad Bank on April 24, 20011 in favour of M Power Global Access India Private Limited by deposit of cash.
"It may be mentioned here that the Commission in its all party meeting (at its headquarters in the national capital) and through various instructions has advised all the parties to avoid transactions in cash during election process," the EC said in its letter today to TMC President and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee.
The EC's action came after an Income Tax investigation report was received by it recently in the case. The EC has asked the Chief Electoral Officer of West Bengal to "immediately" serve the letters to TMC and both the banks and send the reports back to the Commission.
The EC, while issuing separate letters to both the Banks-- Allahabad Bank branch at 2, N S road in Kolkata and United Bank of India at 1, Hemanta Basu Saran at Kolkata-- to "explain the circumstances under which such drafts were made."
"The Reserve Bank of India guidelines of 2009 categorically prohibit any remittance of funds by way of demand draft or telegraphic transfer or any other mode for value of Rs 50000 and above against cash payment.
"Besides, the EC is concerned about cash transactions during the election campaign as such transactions vitiates the election process," the EC wrote to both the banks.
The EC activated an Election Expenditure Monitoring (EEM) cell in its establishment last year to keep a check on poll funding and use of illegal money power at the hustings. PTI