Imphal: With the upcoming 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly election next month, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Manipur on Friday issued guidelines and instructions on movement of cash in the state.

Addressing the press at the CEO office in Imphal on Thursday, Additional Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) N Praveen Singh said that carrying any unexplained cash above Rs 50,000 will be subject to seizure and the same can be released only after being proven that it has nothing to do with the elections. 

If any cash exceeding Rs 50,000 is found in a vehicle carrying a candidate, his agent or party workers or carrying posters or election materials or any drugs, liquor, arms or gift items which are valued at more than Rs 10,000 and likely to be used for inducement of electors or any other illicit articles are found in a vehicle, it will be subjected to seizure by Static Surveillance Teams (SST) /Enforcement Agencies, said Praveen.

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According to him, a star campaigner is allowed to carry cash up to Rs 1,00,000 exclusively for his/her personal use. A party functionary may carry cash provided certificate from the treasurer of the party mentioning the amount and its end use is produced when sought for and SST/Enforcement Agencies will be retain a copy of the certificate, he added.

He further said that if cash of more than Rs 10,00,000 is found in a vehicle and there is no suspicion of commission of any crime or linkage to any candidate or agent or party functionary, then SST/Enforcement Agencies shall not seize the cash, but pass on the information to the Income Tax Authority, for necessary action under Income Tax Laws. A proper Panchnama/seizure document will be issued for seizure of cash/items as per provisions of CrPC in prescribed format to the person(s) from whom such cash/items are seized. Procedure of appeal against seizure should be mentioned in the Panchnama/seizure document(s) and should also inform the concerned persons at the time of seizure of cash/items.

He also informed that any person giving or accepting any gratification in cash or kind during election process, with a view to inducing the person to exercise his electoral right is punishable with imprisonment up to one year or with fine or with both and also considered as corrupt practices. Further, any person who threatens any candidate or elector, or any other person, with injury of any kind, is punishable with imprisonment up to one year or with fine or both and also considered as corrupt practices.

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With the start of the announcement of their respective candidate by political parties, Additional CEO, Manipur, while quoting relevant directives of the Supreme Court of India and Election Commission of India, pointed out requirement for publication of information regarding candidate(s) with pending criminal cases along with reasons for such selections over other intending candidates without criminal antecedents in Format C7 within 48 hours of announcement of candidate. Information in Format C7 shall have to be published in one National Daily (either The Hindu (Kolkata Edition) or Times of India (Guwahati Edition)) and 1 (one) local daily from amongst the list of Local Dailies notified for the purpose.

Further, the information shall also have to be uploaded in the official Website/Social Media Platform of the concerned political party. He further pointed out that compliance of the above by all Political Parties in the form of duly filled in Format C8 shall also have to be submitted to ECI within 72 hours of announcement of candidates.        

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He further stated that adequate numbers of teams are in place for facilitating Postal Ballots by electors who are above 80 years of age, PwDs, COVID positive and COVID suspects and those in essential services.

Moreover, five vans per Assembly Constituency in the valley districts (except Jiribam) and five vehicles per Block in hill districts and Jiribam district have been arranged for providing transportation facilities for PwDs and electors above 80 years voters who opt to cast their votes in their respective Polling Stations. These vans shall be equipped along with a team of volunteers, wheelchair and other assistive equipment. He added that Rapid Response Teams (RRTs) have been set up for all the 60 ACs with one Medical Officer and other support staff. Air-Ambulance will also be arranged for evacuation of casualties in case of medical emergencies.

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Web-casting from all polling stations, where communication is available, will be provided and the rest will be covered through videography. Agency to carry out the same has also been identified. All Polling Stations will be sanitised one day before the poll date, he added.

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