More than 1,400 cases of alleged paid news have been detected by the Election Commission in the last four years during Assembly polls held in 17 states.
The maximum of 523 cases were detected during Assembly polls in Punjab last year, followed by Gujarat — 414, Himachal Pradesh — 104 and Karnataka — 93 (this year), according to official data.
97 such cases were reported in Uttar Pradesh, while 30 instances of paid news were detected in Uttarakhand and nine in Goa.
In the states which went to polls in 2011, Kerala had 65 such cases, Assam — 27, Tamil Nadu — 22, West Bengal — eight and Puducherry — three.
In Bihar, during Assembly polls of 2010, 15 such instances were detected.
Except for Assam, none of the north-eastern states reported any instance of paid news and there were no cases registered in Tripura, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Manipur.
The total cases detected were 1,410 since 2010 till the Karnataka elections this year.
A number of candidates were issued showcause notices after these instances were reported and the EC is adjudicating these cases.
The EC has created an exclusive wing — Election Expenditure Monitoring cell — to monitor cases of paid news and has taken onboard a team of Income Tax sleuths to check the menace during polls.
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