Panaji, Jun 15 (PTI) Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar today said constitutional authorities can become more corrupt than politicians when vested with absolute power, a barb aimed at the Election Commission days after he recommended an audit of Rs 16.86 crore bills submitted by the poll panel.

Parrikar had on Tuesday recommended an audit of the “seemingly exorbitant” reimbursement claim of Rs 16.86 crore raised by the EC for travel of electoral officers against the expenditure incurred by them during the Goa Assembly elections in February.

According to the CM, the officials had hired vehicles in addition to the several already roped in from various government departments for the election duty.

“For two-and-a-half months (of the election process) the Election Commission has given a bill of Rs 16.86 crore. They were going around in the vehicles,” he said while addressing an event organised by state-run Economic Development Corporation.

“(I am) Very sorry to say, I don’t like to criticise constitutional authorities, but when constitutional authorities attain absolute power, they can become more corrupt than politicians,” Parrikar said.

“Politicians have to come before you (people) every five years. I have to answer to the media, rightly or wrongly, 24 hours. If anything happens, a politician has to answer,” he said.

“If garbage is dumped on the road, politician has to answer. Actually, the garbage is dumped by some hotel or some locals. I don’t mind this (being accountable) but this kind of accountability has to be there everywhere (even for constitutional authorities),” the chief minister said.

Referring to the delay in holding election to some panchayat wards following a court order, Parrikar asked, “Who should be held responsible for the delay in the election in these wards?”

“There is no accountability of the State Election Commission. If politicians were responsible for the delay, they would have been criticised. It is very easy to target a politician,” he said.

The Election Commission had in February issued a notice to Parrikar over his purported remarks at an election meeting asking voters to accept money from BJP’s political rivals but vote only for the saffron party.

However, he had said his speech had been translated wrongly.

The poll body had rejected Parrikar’s claim that his election speech in Goa made in Konkani was translated incorrectly.