Poll panel withdraws Assam expenditure observer, orders action

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Guwahati, March 18 (IANS) The Election Commission on Friday withdrew the expenditure observer, who raided the house of Assam Agriculture Minister Rockybul Hussain, and ordered suitable action against him.

A statement issued by the commission said it had viewed the lapse by the expenditure observer seriously and has withdrawn him from the constituency. It has also instructed the controlling authority to initiate suitable departmental action against him.

The observer had on Wednesday searched the vehicle of Hussain first, just outside his private residence and later raided his house. The observer, who was accompanied by a huge team, also refused to divulge their identities to the minister despite several requests.

Hussain termed the raid as politically motivated and said that the BJP-led central government has been trying to terrorize the Congress workers and defame the image of him as well as the ruling party ahead of the forthcoming assembly polls. He had also lodged an FIR the same night at the local police station against the observer and sought a probe.

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“The the search and seizure had been conducted independently by the Income Tax department under the provisions of the Income Tax on receipt of intelligence from other independent agency. Meanwhile, the expenditure observer deployed by the commission had activated the flying squad as a part of follow up action, following the information from the Income Tax department,” the Commission clarified in the statement issued on Friday.

“The commission does not authorize any of its observers to carry out any such enforcement activities. The observers on receiving such information are required to pass on the same to enforcement agencies for appropriate action and continue to monitor the taken as laid down in the ECI manuel,” the statement said.

“In the present case, the expenditure observer has transgressed his jurisdiction by reaching at the spot himself and acted against the instruction of the Election Commission,” it added.

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