Deb`s complaints not conclusive evidence: Quraishi

Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi said he received some fresh complaints from West Bengal Housing Minister Gautam Deb on alleged illegal money.

Kolkata: Chief Election Commissioner S Y
Quraishi on Thursday said he received some fresh complaints from
West Bengal Housing Minister Gautam Deb on alleged illegal
money used by the Trinamool Congress in poll campaigns, but
said it was not conclusive evidence.

"Gautam Deb has given me a complaint, but the
documents submitted are not signed and there is no conclusive
evidence," Quraishi told a press conference here.

Earlier, Deb today met the full bench of the Election
Commission headed by Quraishi with the complaints.

Asked if he would take cognizance of such documents,
the CEC said "we take cognizance of everything, including

To another question whether the Commission would take
penal action if Deb`s evidence was found to be conclusive, he
said "We (EC) have no power to deregister any party. This
power the Election Commission wants to have."

Stating that it was not the EC`s responsibility to
monitor the source of funding, but whether the expenditure of
the contestants was within EC rules, Quraishi said "a
candidate has to submit to the EC account of his election
expenses within 30 days of polling and for political parties
70 days."

There were other agencies to find out the source of
funding, he said.

Quraishi said that for the first time, funding issues
were directly taken up by the EC through an expenditure
observer. "We hope that flow of illegal money will be further
checked." Asked if he has referred Deb`s earlier complaint
against the Trinamool Congress to the Central Board of Direct
Taxes, Quraishi said "We have... We served notices to two
banks named in the complaint. They will send a reply by April
29. Trinamool Congress will reply to us by April 30."

To an another question, the CEC said to check the flow
of black money, the Commission has put into focus whether
expenditure was within the ceiling. "Legitimate money should
not be used illegitimately and that is our focus."

He said that the I-T seized unaccounted money of Rs
6.21 crore and EC`s flying squad Rs 1.11 crore in West Bengal.

About personal attacks in poll campaigns, he said
complaints of using filthy language were taken note of and the
Commission serves notice to those against whom complaints had
been lodged.

"If the EC is not satisfied with the reply from those
against whom notice is served, an FIR will be lodged by the
Commission," he said.

"You may note that hate speech on caste and communal
lines has come down," he said, adding that "whenever the
Commission receives such complaints, it issues notices and
takes action within the guidelines of model code of conduct
because we want to ensure a level playing field."

"Now, booth capturing has become a thing of the past.
Hopefully the flow of illegal money too," Quraishi said.

The CEC said that the Commission`s full bench had come
here to see the poll preparedness in next three phases in the

"We are absolutely satisfied with the polling held in
the last three phases in the state," he said.

The first phase of polling recorded 83.75 pc as
against 82.5 pc, the second phase 86.5 pc as against 85 pc and
the third phase 78.3 pc as against 77.9 pc in 2006 assembly
elections, Quraishi said.


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