Claims most candidates would have had papers rejected if the scrutiny had been thorough; Complains to authorities

PANJIM: Election watchdog Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) has raised questions over the accuracy of the election process after it came across several discrepancies in the affidavits filed by the candidates for the April 23 elections in Goa. ADR claimed that a majority of the candidates, including some big names, would have been disqualified, if the scrutiny of their nomination papers by the election authorities had been thorough. 

Addressing media persons on Tuesday, ADR Goa State coordinator Bhaskar Assoldekar said they came across the discrepancies after a detailed analysis of the affidavits filed by the candidates for the Lok Sabha polls and by-elections in three Assembly constituencies.

“Supreme Court of India through an order passed in September last year, had given clear instructions on how the affidavit format should be. Following this, even the Election Commission of India (ECI) had written to all political parties, including in Goa, to follow the instructions. Despite that there are discrepancies,” he said. 

The discrepancies include pages of affidavits not numbered, certain pages missing, instead of five year I-T return details only one year (2017-18) I-T details submitted, purchase cost of immovable assets mentioned instead of current market prices, different values of immovable assets under various section, etc. 

The affidavits with errors are filed by Shripad Naik, Narendra Sawaikar, Subhash Shirodkar, Deepak Dhavalikar, Mahadev Naik, Elvis Gomes, Jeet Arolkar, amongst others.

 “The election authorities failed to undertake thorough scrutiny of their affidavit. If it was done, then most of the candidates’ nominations would have been rejected,” Assoldekar said.

He added that the anomalies were brought to the notice of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Kunal, who directed him to forward the complaint to the district election officers, since they have the power to get it rectified. “I filed a complaint with district election officers also but I don’t think they did anything as the errors continue to figure in their affidavits,” he said.

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