Punjab recorded seizure of about Rs 67 crore worth of liquor, drugs, gold and cash by Election Commission-appointed surveillance teams during a month-long period leading up to the state assembly polls.
Among the seizures, the value of gold and silver turned out to be the highest at Rs 26.14 crore, followed by drugs to the tune of Rs 17.89 crore, liquor at Rs 13.36 crore and cash of Rs 9.52 crore, an official in the state elections office said on Monday.
The seizure was made by surveillance teams comprising of Punjab police, Narcotic Control Bureau (NCB), state excise and income tax department starting from January 4 when the model code of conduct came into force till February 4 when the polling took place, the official said.
Punjab police intercepted cash amounting to Rs 58 crore during special checking undertaken throughout the state and then handed over Rs 25.33 crore to the Income Tax department for further investigation.
Police, however, after seizing Rs 1.14 crore, released about Rs 32 crore which belonged to some banks.
Out of Rs 25.33 crore, the income tax sleuths seized Rs 8.38 crore and released Rs 9.97 crore after verification. A sum of Rs 7.35 crore was still under investigation, the official said.
With drugs remaining a major poll issue in the state, the surveillance teams including NCB seized drugs worth 17.89 crore from different parts of the state, official said.
Seized drugs included poppy husk, opium, heroin, cocaine, charas, drug powder and even medicines like Tramadol, Alprazolam, Chlotdiazepoxide, Mifepristone which are abused.
The surveillance teams also seized 12.43 lakh litres of illicit and legally produced liquor worth Rs 13.36 crore at several places in the state, the official said.
In one case, the teams had made the biggest seizure of alcohol with the recovery of over one lakh liquor bottles in Bathinda district of Punjab in the wake of assembly polls.
Punjab police seized gold and silver worth Rs 26.14 crore and prominent in this seizure was the recovery of 160 kg of raw gold from Mohali, the official said.
A total number of 2,142 FIRs were registered in connection with the seizures and 2,120 accused were arrested. 416 illegal weapons were also seized.
A total of 451 teams of flying squads and 504 static surveillance teams were functional throughout the state.