‘Amend law to punish bribe-seekers to fund polls’

Election Commission asked the government to make bribery cognizable offence by amending the law after reports of candidates seeking bribes in UP.

New Delhi: Taking serious note of reports
about aspiring candidates in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh seeking
bribes from corporates to fund poll expenses, the Election
Commission on Saturday asked the government to make such bribery a
cognizable offence by suitably amending the law.

"The Commission has reiterated its stand that such
bribery under the IPC should be made a cognizable offence. The
Commission has once again approached the government to pass an
ordinance to make suitable changes in the law, as the matter
is quite serious," an Election Commission statement said.

The Commission has also asked District Electoral Officers
(DEOs) in Uttar Pradesh to file complaints against such
persons under the relevant provisions of the IPC.

The Commission has held that any attempt to obtain or
procure gratification for exercising any electoral right,
including right to stand or not to stand in an election, is an
offence of bribery under the IPC.

It has also held that if convicted by the court, such
offences may result in imprisonment of up to one year or fine,
including disqualification for continuing as MLA, if elected,
and also from contesting any election in future.

Taking note of a sting operation by a television channel
where aspiring candidates in poll-bound Uttar Pradesh are
seeking bribes from corporates for funding their election,
the Commission has appealed to all political parties, whose
functionaries are named in the sting operation, to inquire
into the matter and advise all their functionaries to refrain
from such activities in the current elections.

The Commission, after seeing the transcript of the sting
operation, has given strict instructions to all election
officials in the state to deal firmly with such cases of
attempt to bribe any elector during election process. The Election Commission has also called for monitoring of
the entire liquor production, sale and distribution on a daily
basis and any illicit liquor be seized.

Besides, movement of unaccounted cash in the constituency
is to be monitored and seized and if any person raises funds
in cash as in the sting operation, the Income Tax department
has been alerted to deal with such donors firmly and
investigate about the source of such bribe money, the EC said
in the statement.



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