Bid to check flow of black money, contraband in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections

Politicians enjoying immunity to drive straight to the aircraft at the Delhi airport would now have to get their baggage screened till the time the general elections are over. However, an exclusive list of VVIP politicians, who have been exempted from security check, would be kept out of it, officials in the Delhi Electoral Office said.

The measure of keeping vigil on the movement of baggage carried by politicians is a part of the series of actions taken by the Delhi Electoral Office to check flow of black money and contraband in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. Officials have also directed the airport authorities to install additional scanners in the arrival lounge at Delhi airport to screen the luggage of fliers arriving in the city.

“The Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) prepares a list of the passengers who are allowed to drive till the aircraft due to security and medical reasons. All baggage, including hand baggage, of people who are permitted to drive up to the aircraft on the runway shall also be screened by the CISF and the State police,” said Chief Nodal Officer Ankur Garg.

The DEC on Thursday held a high level meeting with officials from Customs, BCAS, Airports Authority of India, Delhi Police, CISF and private carrier operators among others to finalise standard operating procedures in terms of movement of passengers and cargo at the city airports ahead of Lok Sabha polls.

The officials said the baggage of the passengers travelling in chartered flights arriving and departing from the city would also be physically examined by the security forces. “Apart from that, a flying squad would be screening the baggage of the passengers arriving and departing from uncontrolled air strips and helipads,” said Mr. Garg.

In order to keep a tab on the expenditure limits of the candidates and the political parties, the Airport Traffic Control officials have also been directed to share the records of all the chartered flights and helicopters with the election commission officials within three days.

“The ATC has been instructed to inform the Chief Electoral Officer and the District Election Officer (South) about the travel plan of chartered aircrafts or helicopters half-an-hour in advance. Moreover, the ATC will have to keep records of such chartered aircrafts or helicopters landing and taking off from commercial airports, time of landing and take off, names and number of passengers and route plans. The records would have to be provided to the CEO and DEO within three days, which would be passed on to the expenditure observers for making necessary note,” Mr. Garg said.

The enforcement agencies will specially focus on movement of cash above Rs.10 lakh or gold above one kg through Delhi airports. The officials said all the seizures and screening would be video-recorded and the footage would be preserved for three months after the elections are over.

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