With Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and other states slated for next year, a crucial post in the Election Commission created for checking usage of black money in polls has been filled during the recent bureaucratic reshuffle.
Senior Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer of the Income Tax cadre, Dilip Sharma, has been appointed as the Director General (DG) of the Election Expenditure monitoring cell, which was created in 2010 to exclusively deal with the menace of money power and black money used in the poll process.
Sharma, a 1992-batch IRS officer, took over the post early this week after it fell vacant in August 2015 as incumbent DG P K Dash was promoted and posted as an Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
His appointment was made after 22 new joint secretaries were posted in different central government departments as part of a bureaucratic reshuffle recently.
Officials said the new posting assumes significance as the EC would soon usher in the full fledged exercise to hold the Assembly polls next year in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa and Manipur. They said curbing use of black money is a special area of concern for the poll panel.
Sharma, who was till now posted as the Commissioner of Income Tax (Exemptions) in Pune, has earlier served in various positions in his parent department, including a stint in the investigations unit in Delhi.
The Election Expenditure cell in EC was created to conduct free and fair elections and ensure a level playing field for all candidates and voters by curbing the usage of black money and illicit funds.
The cell, in its six years of existence, has brought out some maiden initiatives like introduction of shadow expenditure registers, deployment of surveillance teams and coordination with specialist agencies like Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) and others, to check black money in polls.
Successive Chief Election Commissioners and Election Commissioners have created special facilities for this cell so that it can enforce its mandate diligently.