Citizens' Issues
'All major parties have defaulted on poll expenditure statements'
Five national and many regional political parties are among those which have not submitted their poll expenditure statements to the Election Commission (EC) even after years have passed, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said on Tuesday.
 
The parties include the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) among others.
 
According to the rule, the election expenditure statements of political parties are required to be submitted within 75 days of the completion of assembly elections and 90 days from the completion of the Lok Sabha elections, ADR said in a release here on Tuesday.
 
Lauding the EC for its notice suspending recognition of the National Peoples' Party (NPP) for failing to submit its expenditure report for the Lok Sabha elections held in 2014, the ADR requested the EC to suspend recognition of those parties which have repeatedly defaulted in submitting their poll expenditure statements for general or assembly elections.
 
"It is to be noted that NPP failed to submit its election expenditure statements to the EC after repeated reminders while not all national and regional parties submitted their expenditure statements within the specified time limit of 90 days," it said, adding that the EC should issue show-cause notices to the defaulters.
 
Among the national political parties, election expenditure statements of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress are not available for five assembly elections held between 2011 and 2015, followed by the Communist Party of India (CPI) defaulting with its submission for four assembly elections, and the CPI-M in one assembly election, it said.
 
"The availability of election expenditure statements of regional parties is equally worrisome," the ADR said. The JD-U's statements are unavailable for 15 assembly elections, those of the LJP are unavailable for 11 assembly elections, and of the Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and Shiv Sena are not available for 10 assembly polls held between 2011 and 2015.
 
While it is crucial for political parties to submit their expenditure statements for greater financial transparency, it is equally important to file the same within the time limit set by the Election Commission and endorsed by the Supreme Court, according to the ADR.

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Mumbai hooch tragedy kingpin held in Delhi
The main accused in the Mumbai hooch tragedy, in which at least 102 people have died, was arrested in the national capital on Tuesday, Delhi Police said.
 
Speaking to IANS, Delhi's Deputy Commissioner of Police Veenu Bansal confirmed the arrest.
 
In Mumbai, Mumbai police spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner of Police Dhananjay Kulkarni said bootlegger Mansur Latif Shaikh, who was the main kingpin behind the hooch tragedy, has been arrested in a joint operation.
 
"In a joint operation, the Mumbai and Delhi Police teams have arrested Mansur Latif Shaikh alias Atiq. Further investigations are underway," Kulkarni told IANS.
 
Atiq, who operates from Mumbai, is belived to be main supplier of the killer hooch which led to the state's worst-ever illicit liquor tragedy, he added.
 
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has directed the police and home department to ensure the death penalty for all those responsible for the hooch tragedy.
 
Earlier, the state government ordered a probe into the incident by Chief Secretary S. Kshatriya.

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Two clerks booked for Maharashtra farmer's suicide
The Maharashtra government has held two clerks 'responsible' for the suicide of a farmer in Yavatmal and booked them for culpable homicide, activists said here on Tuesday.
 
The accused are Manoj Bhagat, 50, Talati (revenue clerk) in Dharna village and Suryakiran Bhagat, a lower division clerk in the Kelapur tehsildar's office in the district, said Yavatmal Revenue Staffers Association president Rajendra Deshmukh.
 
"This is unprecedented anywhere in the country...How can two clerical staffers be held responsible when promised funds by the government are not made available for disbursal to the farmers? Actually, they should hold the district collector 'responsible' for such incidents," Deshmukh said.
 
The Pandharkavda police have charged both the clerks with culpable homicide and conspiracy to kill, among other charges for the suicide of a farmer earlier this month.
 
Despite repeated attempts by IANS, district collector S.P. Singh and resident deputy collector Rajesh Khawale remained unavailable for their comments.
 
According to Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti President Kishore Tiwari, on June 6 a farmer Madhavram Tukaram Ghode ended his life and left behind a suicide note in which he blamed the state government for his death.
 
"Surprisingly, the police lodged the FIR only on late Monday night though the farmer committed suicide on June 6. Why this delay? In between, a couple of days ago, top BJP leaders and ministers had visited the farmer's home," Tiwari said.
 
"I have already demanded that as the head of the government, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Revenue Minister Eknath Khadse should be held responsible, not some junior clerks in remote villages...They are trying to shirk their moral responsibility and the lower officials are feeling highly insecure," Tiwari said.
 
Deshmukh warned that the state government is unnecessarily victimising lower-level government officials for its own policy failures and the revenue department would launch a statewide protest to oppose the move to penalize the two clerks.
 
Presently, the staffers' association has applied for anticipatory bail for the two clerks which will come up for hearing before a Pandharkavda magistrate court on Wednesday, he added.
 
The incident comes a week after the neighbouring Amravati Police booked the Bank of Maharashtra's Morshi branch manager Santosh Kumar holding him 'responsible' for the suicide of a local farmer.
 
Yavatmal district is among the worst-hit by farmland suicides in the country and the state has notched up around 1,200 suicides this year, Tiwari said.

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