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Election Commission suspends Nilgiris flying squad head for laxity in checking vehicle of DMK candidate

New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (ECI) suspended head of the flying squad team of Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu for not checking the cavalcade of DMK party candidate Thiru A Raja on Saturday.

According to sources, flying squad team leader Geetha has been suspended and the entire team has been replaced by ECI.

There have been certain media reports regarding laxity in checking a cavalcade of Thiru A Raja, the candidate from the DMK party, at an interstate check post near Coonoor, Kerala. Based on the media reports and subsequent inquiry by the returning officer, the Nilgiris, and also the expenditure observer, the head of the flying squad team, Geetha has been suspended as lapses were found in the performance of election duties. The entire FST team has been replaced.

The expenditure observer also visited the spot and made inquiries. He also viewed the two videos recorded by the video surveillance teams. Both the press video and the VST videos show casual and superficial checking. The other cars in the cavalcade were also not checked.

Flying squad teams are the grassroots-level enforcers of the election model code of conduct. They keep a close eye on illegal cash movement, bribing voters, and MCC violators. They respond to complaints registered through multiple channels or monitor and investigate on their own initiative.

The Commission has taken a serious note of the soft approach towards a prominent candidate. All political parties and candidates will be dealt with firmly, if found to be violating the MCC guidelines issued by the ECI for a level playing field in ensuring free and fair elections.

A source told ANI that ECI conveys zero tolerance towards disturbance of level playing field for free and fair elections. 

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