Lok Sabha polls: Seizures worth Rs 4.6K crore made nationwide; 45% of them drugs


PTI, Apr 15, 2024, 4:12 PM IST

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Monday said authorities under its supervision have made seizures worth Rs 4,650 crore, including drugs worth Rs 2069 crore, in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.

The poll panel said the seizures made since March 1 exceed the over Rs 3,475 crore recovered during the 2019 parliamentary polls.

The seven-phased Lok Sabha polls were announced on March 16. The first phase is on April 19 and the last one on June 1.

The Commission said authorities have been making seizures worth Rs 100 crore every day since March 1.

Out of the total recoveries worth Rs 4,658 crore, the cash component stands at over Rs 395 crore, while liquor stands at more than Rs 489 crore.

Significantly, 45 per cent of the seizures are of drugs (Rs 2,069 crore).

Use of black money, over and above political financing, could disturb the level playing field in favour of more resourceful party or candidate, it noted, adding that the seizures are a critical part of its resolve to hold the Lok Sabha elections free of inducements and electoral malpractices and to ensure a level playing field.

Drug seizures accounted for approximately 75 per cent of the total seizures in January and February this year with the poll panel focussing on the menace much before the poll schedule was announced.

Over the past few years, significant seizures have been made during elections to state assemblies in Gujarat, Punjab, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, and Mizoram.

CEC Rajiv Kumar, while announcing the polls last month, had underlined money power as one of the ‘4M’ challenges, the poll authority recalled.

The poll panel pointed out that it has been taking action to ensure level playing field such as checking vehicles of prominent leaders and even removing officials for laxity in carrying out their mandate.

The Commission, it said, has also taken strict action against nearly 106 government servants who were found assisting politicians in campaigning, which is against various rules and ethics.

EC sources also pointed out that there was ‘nothing new’ in search of helicopters, as was done in case of TMC leader Abhishek Banerjee.

In the run-up to the polls, all district magistrates and superintendents of police were told to keep a strict watch on airfields and helipads. Such searches are taking place in airfields, both public and private, across the country to ensure inducements are not ferried by air, the said.

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