An order of the Election Commission (EC) to curb the use money power to influence elections in Punjab has produced a knock-on effect on business transactions.
A decree of the EC says any person carrying more than Rs 1 lakh in cash will have to justify his compulsion to do so with evidence. Else, the money will be confiscated.
This has produced a sharp reaction from the state’s industry, which has called it "sheer harassment".
Surveillance teams of the EC have seized unaccounted money of more than Rs 3.5 crore from Tuesday to Thursday in various cities including Mohali, Patiala and Jalandhar.
"To run day-to-day business, every businessman needs cash," Jalandhar Chamber of Commerce and Industry general secretary Charanjit Singh Maingi said.
"They (traders) cannot leave the day’s collection in their commercial premises and it is a must for them to carry the cash home."
Beopar Sena (Punjab) chief Ravinder Dheer said business activities in the state had declined because of the "fear" of policemen. Both organisations have written to the EC on this.
Income Tax (investigation) director HS Sohi said, "Unaccounted money will be seized if it is not explained with proof (from whom it is recovered)."