Karnataka polls: Big cash withdrawals under scanner

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ElectionBANGALORE: Those withdrawing Rs 10 lakh or more from banks could come under the Election Commission scanner during this election season in Karnataka. The aim: to check the illegal flow of cash during the polls. “Bank managers have been asked to report to the deputy commissioners concerned, who will alert the EC and its expenditure observers if there are suspicious withdrawals of Rs 10 lakh and more in cash,” Pankaj Kumar Pandey, officer on special duty (expenditure monitoring), chief electoral office (CEO), Karnataka, told TOI.

The election authorities have identified 54 of the total 224 assembly segments as extremely expenditure sensitive constituencies. These are prone to high expenditure and corrupt practices. “For such constituencies, there’ll be two assistant expenditure observers, two flying squads, more static surveillance teams and video surveillance teams,” Pandey said. “The CEO will maintain confidentiality of such constituencies and the list will be sent to the EC well in advance.”

Ramanagaram, Bellary and Bangalore are said to be highly expenditure sensitive districts. To oversee the election expenses of candidates, the EC has appointed expenditure observers, who are mainly drawn from income-tax, customs and central excise departments. A 24×7 expenditure monitoring control room and a call centre have been set up at the district level to get information about election corruption.

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