The expenditure observer appointed by the ECI has accused the district administration of favouring the ruling SAD- BJP government.
Expenditure observer Mahesh Yadav has said that district returning officer-cum-deputy commissioner Arun Sekhri and SDM Khanna were not following guidelines laid by the ECI related to expenditure expenses.
He cited some examples saying that: “On April 7 (nomination day), a lot of supporters along with SAD- BJP candidate were present while filing the nomination where as ECI guidelines say that more than five supporters should not present with the candidate.”
He further said during a routine checking along with the team, he seized flags, posters and banners of SAD- BJP from a vehicle of a Akali leader as workers failed to produce a bill When he called the police, the police reached the spot after 40 minutes. By the time, the leader left his vehicle with the driver.
“ I recovered walkie-talkie sets from a person during routine inspection . When I asked the local police to register a case the police was reluctant. It was only when the police were pressurised, they registered an FIR.” added Yadav.
Similarly, he also alleged that the local administration was spying on his movements. A senior officer was inquiring his location from officials deployed with him.
Yadav alleged in his report that he called the SDM, Khanna, (falling under the Fatehgarh Sahib constituency) to remove some posters but the SDM did not submit any report to him.
A senior officer from Fatehgarh Sahib told HT that they have already recorded the statements of all official whom the expenditure observer blamed in the complaint.
Clarifying about the delay in police action, the officer said that the police team went there but he had already taken the vehicle in nearby police station after that the local administration looked into the matter.
When contacted district returning officer cum Deputy Commissioner, Fatehgarh Sahib, Arun Sekhri, he said that he got a report on Friday late evening and he had submitted his reply to the CEO, Punjab.
Meanwhile, a highly placed sources said that additional election officer, Punjab Raminder Singh visited Fatehgarh Sahib and saw all the video-footage of the nomination day as to find out whether there was any violation or not.
Talking to HT, CEO,Punjab VK Singh said that he had received comments from both deputy commissioners of Ludhiana and Fatehgarh Sahib and would submit a report to the Election Commission of India.
Deputy commissioner Ludhiana, Rajat Agarwal clarified that the complaint was not directly against him but against the SDM, Khanna, as expenditure observer found some violation in Khanna. He further added that action against violation of the model code of conduct had already been taken against the violators time to time.
He said a report had been submitted to the CEO