INC seeks disqualification of BJP candidates over cash recovery incident

ITANAGAR, Apr 6: In the wake of the recovery of a large haul of cash from the Siang guesthouse in Pasighat on the night of 2 April, the Indian National Congress (INC) wrote to the chief election commissioner (CEC) of India on 5 April, seeking barring or disqualifying the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates involved in the incident for their “brazen violation of the model code of conduct.”
In its memorandum to the CEC and his peers in the commission, the INC sought action as per law and immediate barring/disqualification of Chief Minister Pema Khandu, his deputy Chowna Mein and state BJP president Tapir Gao for being allegedly involved in what it said was “obviously a cash-for-votes conspiracy.”
The Congress claimed that stacks of cash worth Rs 1.8 crore were found during a midnight raid on the convoy of the CM, the DCM and the state BJP president. It said the incident took place before the prime minister’s rally in Pasighat, which was to be held on 3 April, and claimed that there was a link between the two.
“This,” it said, “exposes the nature of this conspiracy to smuggle illegal cash as orchestrated for and on the behest of the BJP.”
“It must also be noted that Tapir Gao has been a habitual offender when it comes to being found in possession of large amounts of cash. Before the Manipur elections, he was stopped by the income tax department with a large amount of cash at the Guwahati airport while he was coming from poll-bound Manipur,” it said.
Citing the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the INC sought immediate exercise of the EC’s constitutional powers under Article 324 “to arrive at a justifiable solution to ensure that the integrity of the electoral process is not compromised.”
The only available remedy, it said, “is the disqualification of all the parties involved, namely, the BJP president, the CM and the DCM of Arunachal Pradesh.”
The party also said Prime Minister Narendra Modi would also be liable “if the ECI is able to establish – and the inference is compelling, given the evidence – that the money was being transported for the benefit of his rally.”
“The Pasighat recovery is of enormous value, considering that all the individuals in question can be easily identified and there is a direct linkage between the party in power and the events that occurred,” it said.