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Election Commission appoints Special Expenditure Observers in eight states

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Election Commission of India

The Election Commission of India has appointed and given additional charge as Special Expenditure Observers to IRS officers for the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2019. The states in which the appointments have been made are Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.

Gopal Mukherjee, former Indian Revenue Service officer of 1980-Batch has been appointed as the Special Expenditure Observer for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Mukherjee was a former member of the Central Board of Direct Taxation (CBDT) of the Income Tax Department.

D D Goel, former IRS (1982-Batch) has been appointed as the Special Expenditure Observer for Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. He was the former Director General of Income Tax (Investigation).

Shailendra Handa, who is currently the Special Expenditure Observer for Maharashtra, has been given the additional charge of Gujarat for the upcoming General Elections 2019.

Madhu Mahajan, 1982-Batch IRS-IT officer, has been given the additional charge of Karnataka Special Expenditure Observer by the ECI. At present Mahajan is the Special Expenditure Observer of Tamil Nadu.

According to the ECI, the Special Observers will be supervising and monitoring the work being done by the electoral machinery and ensure that stringent and effective enforcement action is undertaken based on intelligence inputs and complaints received through C-VIGIL and Voter Helpline 1950 against all persons/entities trying to induce voters by distributing cash, liquor and freebies etc. in order to vitiate the poll process.

Read more: SC asks Opposition to state the rationale behind increasing VVPAT slip verification

The Election Commission officials have stated that so far 120 expenditure sensitive constituencies have been identified. The commission is awaiting reports of state Chief Electoral Officers to identify more such segments.

These sensitive constituencies are in the states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Gujarat, Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttarakhand.

The ECI mandates that there has to be two assistant expenditure observers, a similar number of flying squads, static surveillance teams and video surveillance teams deployed in these constituencies.

The Lok Sabha Elections for 2019 will be conducted in seven phases, from 11 April to 19 May. The result will be declared on 23 May.

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