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We are answerable only to EC: Trinamool

Kolkata Bureau

KOLKATA: In a sharp and quick response to the allegation by a CPI(M) leader that the Trinamool Congress was using black money for the Assembly election campaign, the party said it was answerable only to the Election Commission and not to any “Tom, Dick or Harry”.

‘Code violation'

Trinamool Congress leader Partha Chatterjee said that levelling such a wild allegation without any supporting evidence once the elections were announced amounted to a violation of the model code of conduct.

Earlier, Gautam Deb, Housing Minister and CPI(M) candidate for Dumdum, questioned the source of the Trinamool Congress' funds and alleged that it was using black money for its campaign.

“The Election Commission is vested with the responsibility and the power to monitor election expenses,” Mr. Chatterjee said. He also demanded that the CPI(M) produce proof to substantiate its allegation.

Without naming Mr. Deb, Trinamool chairperson Mamata Banerjee, now campaigning in Nadia, said the party was answerable only to the Election Commission and not to any Tom, Dick or Harry.

Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Gupta said at a briefing that the matter could be probed only if a specific complaint was made. “We do not monitor the sources of funds of candidates. Our expenditure monitoring starts with the opening of bank accounts of candidates.”

Mr. Gupta said that as per the Election Commission's guidelines, the expenditure ceiling for each candidate was Rs.16 lakh.

He, however, said the investigation wing of the Income Tax Department was keeping a close watch on the movement of cash in the State.

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