Thursday, September 21, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






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Poll panel seeks details
Helipad near Sunam
From T. V. Lakshminarayan
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Sept 20 The Election Commission today took a strong view on reports that the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, had tried to circumvent the model code of conduct by having a helipad constructed outside the Sunam constituency limits.

It put the Punjab Government under surveillance and in an unprecedented move deployed three observers to keep a tab on the entire election campaign.

The commission despatched a senior officer, Mr K.J.Rao along with the Chief Electoral Officer to find out the facts of the reported construction of the helipad.

Commisson sources said there was a tendency even earlier for the Punjab Government to circumvent the letter and spirit of the model code of conduct.

The commission has shot off a letter to the Punjab Chief Secretary, Mr R.S.Mann, seeking details of the report.

The commission wanted to know whether such an helipad had been actually constructed recently and if so when? It sought details of the expenditure incurred on the construction of the helipad and also whether it was an approved project included in the budget for the current financial year.

The Chief Secretary has been asked to furnish details of the date of the sanction of the project and the date of issue of work order and completion.

The commission sought a complete factual report on the matter latest by 11.30 a.m. tomorrow.

The commission sources said that even though the reported construction of the helipad had taken place just outside the Sunam constituency, the act was in violation of the model code of conduct.

The sources refused to comment on what action would the commission take in case the report on the construction of the helipad was proved correct. The Election Commission would do everything within its powers to keep the electoral process fair and just, they said.Back

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