Taking strong exception to the manner to which the Department of Revenue responded to the 7 April advisory, the Election Commission of India said it is the poll panel's responsibility to eliminate the use of unaccounted money in elections during raids by I-T/ED and DRI agencies.
In the letter titled 'Impartial conduct of enforcement actions' the poll watchdog said, "The Election Commission of India expresses deep sense of anguish about the casual and trivial manner in which the advisory to be absolutely neutral, impartial and non-discriminatory has been responded by the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance vide letter dated 08.04.19."
EC's 7 April advisory had asked the revenue department to keep enforcement actions during election "neutral, impartial and non-discriminatory". EC objected to the "tone and tenor" used to address a constitutional authority was against protocol.
Speaking to News18, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora had said the Election Commission's advisory on carrying out Income Tax raids just days ahead of the 2019 elections was aimed at ensuring that while action is taken "ruthlessly" against corruption and the raids are carried out without any bias.
"There are some fundamental things, while others need to be repeated. We sent an advisory on the issue of use of armed forces in campaigning and then on I-T raids as there were media reports (about bias). We felt the need to emphasise that while such raids should be carried out ruthlessly, they should not be without bias and not become a political witch-hunt," Arora said.
However, in its response, the revenue department had said, "Since it is the responsibility of the Election Commission as also of the revenue agencies to check and eventually eliminate the use of unaccounted money in election, we would also like to urge the Election Commission to advise its field officers involved in the enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct to take immediate enforcement action at their end."
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Updated Date: Apr 11, 2019 09:04:37 IST