The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought Election Commission's response on a plea alleging that people were being bribed on a massive scale for Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna asked the petitioner K K Ramesh to serve the copy of the petition to the EC counsel for receiving necessary instructions.
The bench said it would hear the plea on April 22.
The petitioner said that Madras High Court dismissed his plea on March 26 in which he sought creating awareness through TV, newspapers and radio that it was an punishable offence to give or take cash for votes.
He said the poll panel has already designated all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, along with 70 other seats across the country, as "expenditure sensitive".
The petition said that so far Rs 78.12 crore in cash has been seized in the state.
"That Case of the petitioner is that there are reports in all the leading newspapers and T.V. Channels regarding cash-for-vote in bye elections and Lok Sabha, elections and state assembly elections. A survey report also speak about the increasing cash for vote practice in Tamil Nadu," the plea said.
The petition further said that if one political party has an over whelming superiority in money, the newspapers support and give patronage to it, and it will be almost impossible for it ever to be defeated.
"This would result in some voters being denied an equal voice and some candidates, denied equal chance," it said.
The plea further alleged that all political parties openly paid cash-for-vote to the voters in Madurai, Thirumangalam bye-election held on 2009.
"A main major political party paid Rs 5,000 each to the voters to cast their vote, to their favoured candidates. The Election Commission''s hands were tied and its officials were seen as silent spectators in Madurai, Thirumangalam Bye Election constituency," the plea claimed.
The petition sought to increase the number of flying squads appointed by EC to control cash-for-vote and effective monitoring.
It also sought that if election is postponed or cancelled for the reason of distribution of cash for vote or for deviating any election rules, the huge money spent for election by government should be recovered from the candidate/ head of political party.
The petitioner referred to the media and intelligence reports to say that Rs 10,000 crore case was arriving in Tamil Nadu and the recent seizure of Rs 11.5 crore from a cement godown in Vellore district by the I-T investigation wing substantiates the allegations that huge cash was being used for votes.
Follow NDTV for latest election news and live coverage of assembly elections 2019 in Maharashtra and Haryana.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram for latest news and live news updates.