BMC election: 33 wards under State Election Commission's watchful eye

A circular has been issued to appoint 15 I-T officers to keep tabs on wards' expenses

Representational Picture

Candidates campaigning indiscriminately for the upcoming BMC polls, don't throw all caution to the wind; the Income-Tax department has its eyes trained on you. In fact, the State Election Commission has issued a circular that mentions 33 wards whose expenses are being monitored on a daily basis.

Officers appointed
To prevent spending over the permitted limit, the commission has appointed 15 I-T officers as well 15 Sales Tax Inspectors to monitor these 33 ward candidates' expenses. With as many as over four times the candidates compared to the last polls, the SEC wants to ensure that they are fought fairly and within prescribed guidelines.

According to the sources from the I-T department, "After the order came from the SEC, our officers are working on it."

What does the order say?
The order copy categorically states, "The authority should immediately act on the order and appointed officer should give each and every details to state election commission as well as Amol Kamat, who is chief election expenses inspector." To that end, candidates have to submit their pamphlet material before printing, and print the pamphlets with a serial number so that they are tracked.

SEC spokesperson Jagdish More said, "This decision has been taken to just monitor and prepare a record about the expenses of the candidates."

If the order is not followed -- either by the authority or the candidate -- the commission can take action against them under The Maharashtra Municipal Corporations Act, 1949 and Maharashtra civil service (Discipline Appeal) Rules 1979 and the Representation of People Act, 1951.

However, candidates on the watchlist are not even aware that they are being monitored. Monica Joseph, NCP candidate from ward no. 177 told mid-day, "We don't have any knowledge about the appointment of an ITO. But yesterday, an officer from the election commission office was taking a video of our rally."

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