Poll panel steps in to allow launch of book on Rafale deal

  1. An election flying squad had stayed the release of a book on the Rafale aircraft deal titled Nattai Ulukkum Rafale Bera Oozhal (The Rafale scam that is rocking the country), and seized its copies. Officials said that the release of the book was in violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
  2. However, later the book was released after permission from the Election Commission of India. The members of the flying squad that conducted the raid have been relieved from duty and issued a show cause notice.
  3. The Rafale deal is a defence deal between French and Indian government. In 2016, Indian government inked a direct deal with the French government to purchase 36 new Rafale fighter jets. The Opposition parties have alleged that the present government bought 36 Rafale fighter aircraft at a much higher price than the one that was being negotiated by the previous government.
  4. Model code of Conduct (MCC) are the guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India for conduct of political parties and candidates during elections. The MCC comes into force immediately on the announcement of the election schedule by the commission. The Code remains in force till the end of the electoral process.
  5. A flying squad is constituted after the announcement of election schedule and functions till the completion of poll. The flying squads are headed by officials with executive magisterial power and comprise police officials, and video graphers for recording all their activities on a daily basis.
  6. The squad is entrusted with assisting state election departments to implement Model Code of Conduct. They are entrusted with the responsibility to attend to all complaints of threat, intimidation, movement of anti-social elements, liquor, arms and ammunition, and large sum of cash for the purpose of bribing of electors.