Amarinder asks EC to include house cost in Jaitley’s poll expenses

Amritsar, Apr.14: Former Punjab chief minister and Congress Party candidate from Amritsar Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday filed a complaint with the Election Commission of India (ECI) seeking to include the cost of the house purchased recently by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Arun Jaitley in his election expenses since it was aimed at garnering the people’s support.

The complaint, which was filed through his election agent, Karanpal Singh Sekhon, said, “The said house has been purchased by Arun Jaitley as part of his election campaign, in what he perceives is a fulfillment of a promise made during his campaign speeches to the electorate of Amritsar.”

“The house has been purchased as an integral part of his campaign efforts and strategy to establish to the electorate of Amritsar that he is not ‘an outsider’ and so this ought not to be an impediment in their mind should they choose to vote for him,” the complaint further stated.

It was also pointed out that party symbols, flags and other material are being affixed to the house in question, which was indicative of it being used for election purposes only.

Suggesting that the actual cost of the house should be much more than Rs one crore, the complaint said that the 340 square yard, five bedroom house in Amritsar’s Green Avenue Colony, merits some verification as the market value of the property may be many times more than projected.

Referring to the EC rules, the complaint says, “Para 18.9.1 of the Handbook for Returning Officers, 2014 which would require that such expenditure of the purchase of this house and its running expenses be reflected in the day to day account expense register maintained by Arun Jaitley, failure to do so in terms of Para 18.9.2 being a major default and an election offence under Section 171, The Indian Penal Code, 1860.”

It also refers to the Section 77(3) read with Rule 99 of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, which provides that the maximum election expenditure which can be expended by a candidate is Rs. 70,00,000/- and violation of this would amount to a corrupt practice under Section123(6) of The Representation of People Act 1951.

“If Shri Arun Jaitley is admitting in public domain that he has purchased this house for Rs. 1 crore ( the actual value may be higher) then he is, by admission already in breach of Section consequences thereof must follow and no further campaign / election expenses can take place/ be permitted,” it adds. By: Ravinder Singh Robin (ANI)