With the first phase of polls conducted in West Bengal and Assam, Election Commission (EC) today said its teams have seized over Rs 49 crore illegal cash in the five poll-bound states, with the maximum Rs 20.40 crore confiscated in Tamil Nadu. It is followed by Assam where Rs 11.13 crore in cash has been seized by the authorities till now.
In Kerala, the figure stands at Rs 8.75 crore, while Rs 8.28 crore has been seized in West Bengal till now. In Puducherry, about Rs 60.88 lakh illegal cash has been seized, the latest EC data said.
The seizures have been made by EC-appointed special flying squads and surveillance teams and those drawn from the Income Tax department. “The total progressive figure of seizures made till now is over Rs 49 crore,” a senior official said.
The model code of conduct for these polls came into force on March 4 when the EC announced the schedule for the five states and soon after wards the special teams were deployed to curb the use of illegal inducements to voters.
The first phase of polls concluded yesterday in Assam and West Bengal, while elections in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will be held on May 16.
The Commission, as part of its measures to curb black money in the polls, has deployed ‘expenditure observers’ drawn from central revenue services like the Income Tax and Customs and Excise departments.
The poll panel, in order to keep a track of huge cash spent during the polls, has also asked the Central Board of Direct Taxes and the Financial Intelligence Unit, both agencies under the Union Finance Ministry, to keep a strict vigil on movement of unaccounted cash. The counting of votes will take place on May 19.