Drugs, cash, liquor worth over Rs 1,760 crore seized in five poll-going states: EC

Drugs, cash, liquor worth over Rs 1,760 crore seized in five poll-going states: EC

New Delhi, Nov 20 (PTI) The Election Commission on Monday said over Rs 1,760 crore worth of freebies, drugs, cash, liquor and precious metals aimed at inducing voters in the five poll-going states have been seized so far.

The poll panel said the seizures made since the polls were announced on October 9 are over seven times (Rs 239.15 crore) the seizures made in the previous assembly elections in these states in 2018.

While assembly polls have already been held in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram, voting will take place in Rajasthan and Telangana on November 25 and November 30 respectively.

According to an EC statement, seizures worth over Rs 1,400 crore were made in the past six state assembly elections held in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura and Karnataka, which was 11 times the seizures made in previous assembly elections in these states.

An EC functionary pointed out that while announcing the poll schedule for the five states, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar had stressed on inducement-free elections to ensure a level-playing field for all candidates and parties.

This time, the commission has also embedded technology into the monitoring process through the Election Expenditure Monitoring System (ESMS) which is proving to be a catalyst, as it brought a wide array of central and state enforcement agencies together for better coordination and intelligence-sharing, the statement said.

Interestingly, according to the EC, no cash or precious metal was seized in Mizoram, but drugs worth Rs 29.82 crore were recovered by authorities.

The poll panel has deployed 228 officers from various services as expenditure observers. For close monitoring, 194 assembly constituencies were marked as 'expenditure sensitive' seats.

The commission said the figures of seizures are expected to rise. PTI NAB DIV DIV

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