Report on illegal poll fund disbursal by BJP forwarded to ECI

By K.S. Sudhi

The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Kerala, has forwarded to the Election Commission of India a police report that the Bharatiya Janata Party disbursed illegal funds to the tune of ₹40 crore in various constituencies.

“The police report was referred to the commission for instructions as the alleged acts relate to an offence under the Representation of the People Act,” said Sanjay Kaul, CEO. A report from the State Police Chief in this regard was also forwarded to the ECI, he said.

The illegal money trail surfaced after Dharmarajan, whom the police describe as a hawala agent who maintained a close contact with BJP State president K. Surendran and others, and Shamjeer filed a police complaint that ₹25 lakh was robbed from their car at Kodakara, near Thrissur, on April 3. However, police investigation revealed that ₹3.5 crore, which was hidden in some secret chambers in the car and meant to be distributed in the State for poll campaigning, was stolen. The money was to be handed over to BJP Alappuzha district secretary Gopalakrishna Kartha.

In its chargesheet filed in the robbery case, the police had noted that the illegal sourcing of money from Karnataka and its distribution in Kerala for election purposes was carried out with the knowledge of Mr. Surendran and as per instructions from BJP State coordinating secretary M. Ganesh and State office secretary Gireesan Nair.

The police had also reported that ₹40 crore, brought to Kerala from Karnataka between March 5, 2021 and April 5, 2021 through hawala racket, was handed over to various BJP leaders in the State.

The act of illegal collection and distribution of money for poll purposes constitutes the offence of bribery and is a punishable offence under Section 171 E of the Indian Penal Code and Section 123 (1) of the Representation of the People Act. Those convicted can get a jail term of one year and fine or both.

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