New Delhi: About 50 Income Tax officers --
appointed as expenditure observers for the upcoming assembly
elections in Bihar -- were on Thursday briefed by the Election
Commission here to ensure strict compliance of the new
guidelines by the candidates in the poll fray.
This is the first batch of the Indian Revenue Service
(IRS) officers, out of a total of about 150, who have been
deputed to the EC to oversee election related expenditure
after the Commission activated a Election Expenditure
Monitoring (EEM) cell in its establishment.
The upcoming Bihar Assembly polls are the first
assignment for the new cell which has recently brought out new
guidelines like the creation of "shadow" expenditure registers
and exclusive election bank accounts by the candidates trying
their luck at the hustings.
The officers, who will take charge of their designated
assembly constituencies in first week of October were briefed
by senior EC officials about the mechanism and procedures they
will have to adopt to observe, gather and record expenditure
related activities of candidates and political parties.
The officers were also told about the 24x7 control
room activated at the EC headquarters here which will be
coordinating with each such control unit in each district of
The officers were instructed to ensure strict compliance
by the candidates in maintaining the "shadow" expenditure
registers and exclusive bank accounts, sources said.
In order to check illegal spending through paid news,
the officers will liaise with a team headed by Deputy District
Education Officer (DEO) and district Public Relations Officer
(PRO) and will monitor both print and electronic media and the
local cable channels and subsequently will submit daily
reports to an accounting team.
The new guidelines also envisage arrangements for a
`video surveillance and viewing team` for each candidate,
comprising an officer and a clerk, to watch, tabulate and
prepare report of expenditure after gleaning through the video
footage every day.