Voters taking money not an offence: SEC

Voters taking money not an offence: SEC
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Cops cannot book cases under existing laws

Hyderabad: On the sidelines of the municipal elections to be held on Wednesday, State Election Commissioner (SEC) V Nagi Reddy made a sensational statement that voters taking money from political parties is not a cognizable offence and hence it would not attract any case under any existing anti-bribery Acts.

The SEC has also said that the political parties should be more vigilant when it comes to the distribution of money to the voters as they would know what their opponents would be doing.

The Commissioner was replying to a question on the limited cash seized and the news reports suggesting distribution of huge money by political leaders, but a few cases were only booked.

"It is not a cognizable offence when a voter takes money from political parties.

Police cannot book cases because it does not come under bribing like in the case of the government employees," Reddy said, adding that it has come to the notice of the Commission that a few cases of distribution of money in the poll-bound Peddapally and Alampur municipalities had taken place and necessary action will be taken after official probe.

The SEC said that some videographed the money distribution by the candidates and it provided the opportunity to the police personnel to take immediate action.

He said that if the evidence is provided and produced in court, money given to the candidates will also be included in the poll expenditure of the particular contestant.

If the candidate gives wrong information about the expenditure, the candidate will be disqualified even after winning, the official said and urged the citizens to utilise the opportunity to stop the money flow by using cameras.

The Commissioner appealed to the political parties to be vigilant and report the flow of money in the polling.

So far, only Rs 44 lakh was seized in cash. Replying to another question, Reddy said that the situation in Bhainsa was under control and the election would be held as per the schedule.

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