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Ex-CEC questions IT-ED operations during elections, says – Commission should intervene

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Amid the targeting of opposition parties and their leaders by the Central Investigation Agency during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. Three former election commission leaders said the move was an interference in a free and fair election. The Election Commission should talk to the agency about why they are not waiting for the election to be completed.

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New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday (March 31) accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of ‘fixing results’ in the Lok Sabha elections. by misusing federal law enforcement agencies;

After this, at least three former Chief Election Commission (CEC) told The Indian Express that the recent actions of the Income Tax (IT) Department and Enforcement Directorate (ED) against opposition parties and their leaders would lead to towards equal elections It is likely to be prevented.

especially Congress said on Saturday that It has received new notices from the IT department for 2014-15 and 2016-17, demanding Rs 1,745 crore in taxes. Earlier, the party had received notices for 1994-95 and 2017-18, which the IT department had jointly demanded. Rs 3,567 crore has been received from Parliament so far. The Income Tax Department also withdrew past dues amounting to Rs 1,350 crore from Parliament’s bank account.

This is according to former Election Commission (EC) officials, two of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. Such a move could be seen as interference in free and fair elections and at least the EC agencies. It is worth finding out why tax claims and IT declarations are allowed. Don’t wait until the election is over.

Former CECSY Qureshi told The Indian Express, “I personally feel that the Election Commission can definitely stop this. Because it affects equal opportunities.” Within the Election Commission we uphold the principle ‘What can wait, must wait’ during elections. The question is whether postponing the trial will cause irreparable harm. There is no irreparable harm in this case. It can be done after three months.’

Another former CEC spoke on condition of anonymity. ‘Such a situation never occurred during our tenure on the Commission. It is therefore difficult to provide an example when the Commission has taken such action. However, the objective of the Model Code of Conduct is to ensure that everyone who takes part in elections has an equal opportunity. If the tax authority continues to issue notices to the main opposition parties. Suspend their account and withdrew money from them during the election campaign. The Commission should find concrete reasons from CBDT why they all So why couldn’t we wait until now? After the election? This can be done through meetings between the Commission and the CBDT.”

In particular, the ED has carried out searches, issued summonses and arrested opposition leaders on a case-by-case basis. together in the past few months The most notable arrests were last week of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader K Kavita in the Delhi Excise Policy case.

The former CEC said that when the ED summons leaders for questioning at what time should they take part in the campaign. It will affect equal opportunities. The former CEC said, ‘The Commission cannot interfere in matters of national security. But if there is no national security problem in these proceedings Can’t the Revenue Department and ED wait for two months?’

A third former election committee member spoke on condition of anonymity. “This is a complex and sensitive issue. And I understand how difficult it is for the Election Commission to deal with this matter.” When political parties are prevented from accessing funds How can you expect political parties to contest elections? Doesn’t this affect equal opportunities? The committee as the referee cannot remain silent in this match. It must play a stimulating role through consultations or meetings with central agencies.”

However, former CECOP Rawat said the Election Commission can intervene only if there are sufficient grounds to suspect law enforcement agencies of wrongdoing. He said, “If there is evidence that agencies are deliberately delaying action because they are contrary to Campaigning for elections or raiding but not finding anything, only in such cases Only now can the Election Commission request action. Wait until the election is over. But political parties play politics on such issues and do not enter into the Election Commission with all the facts, and from now on it will become difficult for the Election Commission to do.

However, there was also an instance when the Election Commission asked the ED to act impartially during the last Lok Sabha elections in 2019. This came after opposition parties accused the ruling party of using central agencies against them.

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