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Cash, gifts seized at a historic high: EC

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 16, 2021

The stupendous rise in seizure is attributed to better preparedness and the multi-pronged strategy of the Commission   -  The Hindu

₹1,000-crore haul across five States ahead of Assembly polls, with Tamil Nadu topping the charts at ₹446.28 crore

In the run up to the Assembly elections in five States a new record was set with the Election Commission seizing over ₹1,000 crore in cash, valuables and liquor. This is five times the total value of seizures in 2016.

Tamil Nadu tops the chart as the enforcement officers seized ₹446.28 crore in cash, liquor, gift items, drugs and precious metals.

‘Unprecedented amount’

The Election Commission said that the figure is historic. “Seizures crossed ₹1,000 crore for the first time in any Assembly Electoral process. There is a steep rise in seizure figures as compared to previous elections,” Election Commission Under Secretary Pawan Diwan said in a statement.

In Tamil Nadu, cash worth ₹236.69 crore was seized in searches along with liquor worth ₹5.27 crore, drugs worth ₹2.22 crore, gift items estimated at ₹25.64 crore and precious metals worth ₹176.46 crore. Similarly in Assam over ₹122.35 crore have been seized; In West Bengal, the figure is ₹300.11 crore, including drugs valued at ₹118.83 crore; . In Kerala it was ₹84.92 crore and Puducherry ₹36.95 crore worth of cash and other items Overall, the Election Commission’s haul is ₹1,001.44 crore.

The Commission had deployed five Special Expenditure Observers and 321 Expenditure Observers for close monitoring of the movement of money and valuables. About 259 constituencies have been marked as “expenditure sensitive”.

“The stupendous rise in seizure figures is because of better preparedness and multi-pronged strategy of the Commission. The Commission conducted exhaustive reviews at various levels which included review meetings with Enforcement agencies of the States/UT, meetings with Revenue Secretary; Chairman, CBDT; Chairman, CBIC & Director FIU-Ind for inter-agency co-operation and real-time sharing of intelligence,” the official release added.

‘Bribery’

As per law, distributing cash and gifts during the electoral process with the intent to influence voters is not permitted and such expenditure comes under the definition of ‘bribery’ which is an offence both under 171B of IPC and under Representation of People’s Act, the poll panel said.

Published on April 16, 2021

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