Lok Sabha polls: EC appoints special observers for eight states

PTI

Election Commission File Photo, PTI

Election Commission File Photo, PTI

The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday appointed four special observers, two retired IRS and two IPS officer, to spearhead its efforts to check the abuse of black money and illegal inducements to voters and monitor the deployment of security forces in select sensitive states during the Lok Sabha polls.

The poll-body appointed Gopal Mukherjee as special expenditure observer for the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and D D Goel for Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.

Mukherjee, a 1980-batch officer of the Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax) retired as Member (Investigations) in the Central Board of Direct Taxes, while Goel, a 1982-batch officer of the same service, superannuated as Director General of I-T (Investigations).

The Election Commission also appointed former BSF chief and retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer K K Sharma as the special central police observer for the states of West Bengal and Jharkhand.

Mrinal Kanti Das, a 1977-batch IPS officer of Manipur-Tripura cadre, has been assigned as police observer for the states of Tripura and Mizoram.

The Election Commission, last week, had appointed the two special expenditure observers — IRS officers Shailendra Handa and Madhu Mahajan.

While they were assigned the states of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu initially, the Election Commission Tuesday said Handa will also supervise the EC machinery to check illegal cash and inducements to voters in Gujarat and Mahajan has been additionally assigned Karnataka.

This is the first time that special central expenditure observers have been appointed for any polls in the country. PTI had reported on Monday that the Election Commission is mulling to deploy more such officials.

In the order for the appointment of Mukherjee and Goel, the Election Commission said the two officers “have extensive knowledge of search and seizure operations conducted by the I-T department”.

“The special observers will be supervising and monitoring the work being done by the electoral machinery and ensure that stringent and effective enforcement action is undertaken based on intelligence inputs and complaints received through C-Vigil app and voter helpline-1950- against all persons/entities trying to induce voters by distributing cash, liquor and freebies among others in order to vitiate the poll process,” it said in a statement.

The Election Commission added that former BSF Director General (DG) Sharma “would oversee the deployment and other security-related issues” in the two states assigned to him.

(PTI)