The ongoing raids by the poll officials in R K Nagar have brought fresh debates among voters residing in the high-profile constituency.
Voters residing in this constituency welcome the search operations conducted by flying squads there are also strong views of the public informing that the election commission is inefficient as it failed to arrest the free flow of cash for votes in the poll-bound constituency.
With the Income Tax department saying around Rs 100 crore has been distributed to RK Nagar voters by the AIADMK faction led by the now jailed VK Sasikala, there is a possibility of the Election Commission (EC) postponing the by-election in the constituency.
According to the documents seized by the I-T officials during their raids here on Friday and published by some media, the price of one vote in the by-poll bound R.K. Nagar constituency is Rs 4,000.
“The documents published by some media houses and doing the rounds in WhatsApp are what we had seized during our raids yesterday (Friday),” an I-T official confirmed on Saturday.
On Friday, I-T officials raided the residences and business premises of Tamil Nadu Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar, his relatives as well as persons close to him and his business associates.
“We have seized cash totalling Rs 5.5 crore. We have also seized documents showing Rs 89 crore changed hands in R.K. Nagar,” according to an I-T official.
Reacting to the media reports, DMK’s working President M.K. Stalin in a statement demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against the list of ministers mentioned in the documents seized by the I-T Department and published in the media.
“The ministers should be debarred from contesting in elections,” Stalin said.
“We have submitted our report to the The Central Board of Direct Taxes, (which is a statutory authority functioning under the Central Board of Revenue Act, 1963). In the report, CBDT have stated about the seizure of documents, distribution of cash to the R.K. Nagar voters, the bribe received by the officials from drug suppliers and some other things,” the senior official said.
As per the documents leaked to the media, the Sasikala-led AIADMK faction had given over Rs 89.5 crore to seven ministers for distribution among R.K.Nagar voters and they were given a target to distribute cash to 85 per cent of the voters, numbering 2,24,145.
“If one wants to bring about proper electoral reforms, then EC should permanently ban a candidate and even the political party from contesting elections if they are found involved in electoral malpractices like bribing the voters,” said former parliamentarian K.C. Palaniswamy, the spokesperson of the AIADMK faction led by former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam.
Asked about the possibility of debarring a party or a candidate from contesting elections, T.S. Krishnamurthy, former Chief Election Commissioner, told IANS: “The EC has no such power. All that the EC can do is to postpone the election”
According to Krishnamurthy, the poll body can postpone the elections any number of times.