Officials warned against failing to ensure graffiti removal

Any failure to ensure removal of political graffiti in public places will be considered lapse on the part of officials, according to Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Kumar.

As the grace period for removal has expired, the State Elections Department will take complaints very seriously. Pointing out that the Tamil Nadu Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act, 1959 and election laws are being invoked in this regard, he says that if anyone puts up a hoarding or any such structure, the authorities will file an FIR against the party concerned, Mr Praveen Kumar says.

No consolidated information on the status of removal is available at the CEO’s office as District Collectors/District Election Officers have informed the top official here that they are taking steps to see to it that the model code of conduct is enforced.

The CEO says that so far around Rs. 2.16 crore of unaccounted cash and saris and jewelleries and other items worth over Rs. 47 lakh have been seized. Not all the money seized is retained by the authorities. A period of two days is given for production of documents in support of source and usage of funds. If members of surveillance teams are convinced, the amounts are returned to owners. “My advice to people in general is to avoid carrying huge amounts of cash,” the CEO says.

In respect of political parties, any amount in excess of Rs. 50,000 will not be allowed as it will be deemed to have been meant for bribery. This rule will be in force, irrespective of the production of documents.

This time, the Commission has provided for aggrieved persons to prefer appeals with deputy district election officers. Generally, personal assistants to District Collectors are designated as deputy district election officers, Mr Praveen Kumar adds.

In a release, the CEO stated that nominations for the Lok Sabha elections and the Alandur assembly by-election would be received at the offices of respective Returning Officers between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. from March 29 to April 5 except on March 30 and 31.

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