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Blatant attempts to woo voters using cash, liquor

By R Dutta Choudhury
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GUWAHATI, May 21 - Seizures of huge quantities of cash, liquor and other such items during the process of elections proved beyond doubt that all out efforts were made to woo the voters by unfair means and according to data available with the Election Commission, materials worth Rs 3456.22 crore were seized in the country till yesterday.

The data released by the Election Commission proved that the disturbing trend has not spared Assam and other parts of the North East, though the seizure of narcotics during the elections in this part of the country is less than in some other States.

According to records available, the cash seized in Assam during the poll process was Rs 13.05 crore, while liquor worth Rs 1.51 crore, drugs and narcotics worth Rs 1.09 crore, precious metals including gold worth Rs 79 lakh and other freebies worth Rs 23 lakh were seized. The total seizures made in the State during the poll process were over Rs 16 crore.

The total seizure made in Arunachal Pradesh amounts to Rs 9.92 crore, which includes cash amounting to Rs 7.14 crore. The situation is worse in Manipur as the total value of the seizure amounts to Rs 38.68 crore. Though the cash seizure in Manipur is less than that of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, narcotics seizure in the State was much higher. In Manipur, narcotics valued at Rs 31 crore was seized.

Compared to these three States, the situation in the other States of the region is much better as the total seizure in Nagaland were valued at Rs 3.7 crore, while, the figure did not touch the one crore mark in the other States of the region. The best performing State in the North East in this regard was Mizoram as the total seizure were valued at only Rs 0.6 crore and there was no cash seizure.

It may be mentioned here that Tamil Nadu topped the list of seizures as the total value of seizure in that State was Rs 952.98 crore, which included cash seizure of Rs 228.74 crore, followed by Gujarat with total seizure valued at more than Rs 550 crore, Delhi with total seizure worth Rs 426 crore, Punjab with total seizure worth Rs 285 crore and Andhra Pradesh with total seizure valued at Rs 238 crore.

Meanwhile, official sources told The Assam Tribune that various agencies were engaged to carry out raids and surveillance to check on political parties and candidates from distributing cash and other materials to woo the voters. Sources said Income Tax department made most of the cash seizures and the department even formed special teams for the purpose. For other materials like liquor, narcotics, etc., departments like Excise, Narcotics Control Bureau and police made the seizures.

Sources said, �Carrying of cash during the elections is not banned. But whenever anyone is suspected to be carrying unaccounted money, he or she can be detained and the person will have to prove that the money legally belongs to him or her. Some persons may have to carry substantial amount of cash for business, treatment and other purposes and if caught, they will have to prove that the money legally belongs to him or her and that will not be used for any illegal activities,� sources added.

Sources also revealed that in case of seizures, the Election Commission does not take up any case and the matters are referred to the agencies concerned to register cases.

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Blatant attempts to woo voters using cash, liquor

GUWAHATI, May 21 - Seizures of huge quantities of cash, liquor and other such items during the process of elections proved beyond doubt that all out efforts were made to woo the voters by unfair means and according to data available with the Election Commission, materials worth Rs 3456.22 crore were seized in the country till yesterday.

The data released by the Election Commission proved that the disturbing trend has not spared Assam and other parts of the North East, though the seizure of narcotics during the elections in this part of the country is less than in some other States.

According to records available, the cash seized in Assam during the poll process was Rs 13.05 crore, while liquor worth Rs 1.51 crore, drugs and narcotics worth Rs 1.09 crore, precious metals including gold worth Rs 79 lakh and other freebies worth Rs 23 lakh were seized. The total seizures made in the State during the poll process were over Rs 16 crore.

The total seizure made in Arunachal Pradesh amounts to Rs 9.92 crore, which includes cash amounting to Rs 7.14 crore. The situation is worse in Manipur as the total value of the seizure amounts to Rs 38.68 crore. Though the cash seizure in Manipur is less than that of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, narcotics seizure in the State was much higher. In Manipur, narcotics valued at Rs 31 crore was seized.

Compared to these three States, the situation in the other States of the region is much better as the total seizure in Nagaland were valued at Rs 3.7 crore, while, the figure did not touch the one crore mark in the other States of the region. The best performing State in the North East in this regard was Mizoram as the total seizure were valued at only Rs 0.6 crore and there was no cash seizure.

It may be mentioned here that Tamil Nadu topped the list of seizures as the total value of seizure in that State was Rs 952.98 crore, which included cash seizure of Rs 228.74 crore, followed by Gujarat with total seizure valued at more than Rs 550 crore, Delhi with total seizure worth Rs 426 crore, Punjab with total seizure worth Rs 285 crore and Andhra Pradesh with total seizure valued at Rs 238 crore.

Meanwhile, official sources told The Assam Tribune that various agencies were engaged to carry out raids and surveillance to check on political parties and candidates from distributing cash and other materials to woo the voters. Sources said Income Tax department made most of the cash seizures and the department even formed special teams for the purpose. For other materials like liquor, narcotics, etc., departments like Excise, Narcotics Control Bureau and police made the seizures.

Sources said, �Carrying of cash during the elections is not banned. But whenever anyone is suspected to be carrying unaccounted money, he or she can be detained and the person will have to prove that the money legally belongs to him or her. Some persons may have to carry substantial amount of cash for business, treatment and other purposes and if caught, they will have to prove that the money legally belongs to him or her and that will not be used for any illegal activities,� sources added.

Sources also revealed that in case of seizures, the Election Commission does not take up any case and the matters are referred to the agencies concerned to register cases.

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