EC to send poll affidavits of Rajya Sabha candidates to CBDT
So far, only poll affidavits of Lok Sabha and state assembly candidates that were submitted to the EC were sent to the CBDT
Updated: Sep 12, 2018 00:06:28
Affidavits filed by candidates contesting elections to the Rajya Sabha and Legislative councils in states will now be sent to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) by the election commission (EC), an official aware of the development said on Tuesday.
These affidavits, declaring a candidate’s assets and other financial details, could then be scrutinised by the CBDT.
So far, only poll affidavits of Lok Sabha and state assembly candidates that were submitted to the EC were sent to the CBDT, where they were scrutinised to ascertain if there were any discrepancies in disclosure or if there was an unusual spike in the assets of the candidates.
The decision to allow the scrutiny of affidavits filed by the RS and LC candidates was taken by the Commission.
“The poll panel has been thinking of forwarding the affidavits to the CBDT so as to allow them to scrutinise these. It is a move aimed at bringing in more accountability and transparency,” the official, not wishing to be named said.
On whether the decision was taken following the cases of bank fraud against former Rajya Sabha member Vijay Mallaya, who is also the first person to be booked under the new anti-financial fraud law; the official said, the case “did come up for reference”.
“It has been noticed that some of the candidates to the RS and LC or vidhan parishad have assets running into crores. For the sake of transparency it has been decided that their disclosure should be forwarded to the concerned authorities,” the official said.
Another official explained that the CBDT does not scrutinise all poll affidavits, but it does follow up on cases that are flagged by the EC or where there seems to be a mismatch in the information on assets.
Commenting on the decision, Professor Jagdeep Chhokar of the election watchdog, association for democratic reforms (ADR) said: “We have suggested to the poll panel that the affidavits of all winning candidates be sent for scrutiny within six months of the declaration of results, so that if there are any discrepancies in some cases, action can be taken against those before the expiry of their terms.”
Chhokar also said the findings of the scrutiny should be made public. Earlier this year, the CBDT had told the poll panel that scrutiny of assets cannot be disclosed to the public as the declarations are protected under the IT Act.
First Published: Sep 11, 2018 23:39:51