Rs162 cr in gold, cash, liquor, contraband seized in state
This is a substantial increase of more than five times the number of goods seized through the entire 2014 general elections, officials from the Maharashtra Chief Electoral Office said.Updated: May 08, 2019 03:56 IST
The enforcement agencies in Maharashtra have so far seized cash, gold, liquor and other contraband worth Rs162.51 crore in seizures carried out since the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha elections came into force from March 10.
This is a substantial increase of more than five times the number of goods seized through the entire 2014 general elections, officials from the Maharashtra Chief Electoral Office said.
The enforcing departments have lodged a total of 26,467 FIRs against the offenders for violating the model code of conduct. The departments, including the Income Tax (I-T) department, excise department and police have seized goods worth Rs162.51 crore till May 7.
“In the drive conducted from March 10, we have so far seized cash worthRs53.08 crore, liquor worth Rs28.7 crore, gold ornaments, jewellery worth Rs71.21 crore and contraband worth Rs9.52 crore,” said Dilip Shinde, additional chief electoral officer, Maharashtra.
Shinde said there is a huge jump in the goods and cash seized in 2019.
“The seizures in 2014 election were of much lower value. It was around Rs30 crore,” Shinde added. Shirish Mohod, deputy chief electoral officer, attributed the increase to “vigilance”.
Another senior official said the trend is “worrying”.
“It is difficult to ascertain the exact reasons for the jump in seizures, but it is a worrying sign. The cash-for-votes trend or handouts to lure voters was always there, but it looks like it is growing. Earlier, muscle power was used to push voters with minimum material lure [for votes], now it seems that money power has taken over that trend,” said an official, requesting anonymity.
According to officials, search operations were conducted across the state. “If cash or jewellery or any other goods are found, the owner is asked to explain the source. If he or she is unable, the goods are seized and an FIR is lodged. The cash and other material are usually hidden in vehicles,” a senior official added.
First Published: May 08, 2019 03:56 IST