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Poll panel issues notice on Commonwealth Games ads


New Delhi : The Election Commission Monday issued notices to three officials for approving advertisements related to the Commonwealth Games in violation of the code of conduct.

The commission has sought an explanation from the officials of the Organizing Committee of the Commonwealth Games (OCCG) who approved the advertisements and ordered its publication in the newspapers.

Full page advertisements March 6 listed the achievements of the central and Delhi governments on the development work carried out for the games, including building of 24 flyovers, improving 1,285 km of roads and inducting 5,000 low-floor buses.

The poll panel said the ads, that cost about Rs.2.6 million, went against the moral code of conduct that came into force March 2 when Lok Sabha election dates were announced.

The commission has sent notices to Shovana Narayan, joint director general (culture and ceremonies), Neel Chatterjee, additional director general (revenue and communications) and Bharat Prasad, deputy director general (finance) of the OCCG who had approved the ads in an meeting held Feb 29.

The OCCG maintained that the meeting was held before the code came into effect but the commission stressed that the committee could have reviewed the decision to run the ads after the code was effective.

According to an Election Commission statement, the officials would have “..to show cause as to why, the total cost of the advertisement amounting to Rs.2,665,247 should not be ordered to be recovered from the personal accounts of the said officers in equal proportions and reimbursed to the organizing committee’s account.”

“Their replies in this behalf should reach the commission within five days from the date of receipt of this notice failing which the commission will issue exparte orders in the matter without further notice to them.”