A week after the Maharashtra Congress complained to the Election Commissioner questioning the process by which the Maharashtra Chief Electoral Officer was appointed, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday said that it considered the matter and had not found any reason for taking any action in this regard.
In a letter on Friday addressed to Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee general secretary and spokesman Sachin Sawant, ECI said the Chief Electoral Officer’s appointment is done in consultation with the state government / Union Territory concerned, wherein a panel of officers is furnished to the commission.
“Baldev Singh was appointed by the commission following due procedure, wherein the state government had clarified that he was clear from the vigilance angle and as per records, he had been rated outstanding in his performance appraisal reports during the last five years of his service prior to his appointment as Chief Electoral officer, Maharashtra,” said the letter, bearing the signature of the Secretary to the ECI A N Das, said, adding that there was no reason to take any action in the matter.
In a letter to the EC, Sawant said there were serious questions about procedures followed for the appointment of Maharashtra CEO Baldev Singh, amid a controversy over a contract to an advertising agency for a publicity campaign just before the Assembly polls.
Singh was appointed in July 2019, three months before the Assembly polls in the state.
Sawant had alleged that the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) had ordered an investigation into allegations of misuse of power and position against Singh on May 11, 2018, when he was the Development Commissioner of the Union Commerce Ministry’s Santacruz Electronics Export Processing Zone in Mumbai. Sawant had further said that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had also passed strictures against senior officials at SEEPZ in the same matter, which dealt with the award of a capital works contract and additional expenditure sanctioned for the same, in alleged deviation from norms.
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