About Rs. 60 lakh meant for disbursal seized on last day of campaign
In Tamil Nadu where cash for vote culture has set in, the Election Commission has been playing a cat-and-mouse game ahead of the polling day on April 24.
On Tuesday, charges and counter charges of cash distribution by the parties locked in a multi-cornered fight kept the poll machinery on its toes as the campaigning came to a close. About Rs. 60 lakh in cash, meant for distribution to voters, was seized. And about half-a-dozen functionaries of ruling party were arrested.
The largest seizure was reported in Vellore where a flying squad seized Rs. 50.24 lakh from the house of P. Kuppuswamy, Anaicut panchayat union presidium president of PMK in Oonai Pallathur village. The money was kept in two photo copier boxes. Voter slips were also seized from the house.
In Virudhunagar, Rs. 6.97 lakh was seized from the residence of woman panchayat president near Rajapalayam on Monday, said T.N. Hariharan, Returning Officer. Another flying squad seized Rs. 1.60 lakh from a ward member of Padikasuvaithanpatti panchayat, P. Sivasubramanian (53), on charges of bribing voters. He was arrested. Four others escaped. In Salem, Sadasivam, a ruling party councillor’s house was raided in Mettur taluk in which the flying squad seized Rs. 59,600 in cash. Sadasivam and V. Srirangan, who were filling the covers with currency notes, were arrested and remanded in judicial custody.
In Erode, a flying squad monitoring election expenditure intercepted few persons travelling on two motorcycles and confiscated Rs. 25,000 from one of the vehicles. The riders and pillion-riders escaped. Officials suspect it was a case of cash for vote since a bunch of booth slips was also found. The motorcycles were confiscated.
In Udhagamandalam, Abdul Aziz (38), said to be the AIADMK’s branch secretary of Ketti Palada, was found in possession of money meant for disbursal among voters. Officials said Rs. 11,000 was seized from him. In this connection, a case was also registered against Hullikal Sivaji, Melur Union secretary of the AIADMK.
In Nagapattinam, the flying squad arrested V. Paneerselvam, an AIADMK functionary and seized cash of Rs. 7,300 at Vedaranyam. He was caught red-handed in Marainyanallur area. Two other AIADMK functionaries K. Thangavel and V. Selvarasu absconded.
In Tiruchi, the Left parties complain that the ruling party men were distributing Rs. 200 per vote. Distribution happens during late night hours mainly in the slums of Puthur, Woraiyur, says M. Sakthivel, CPI (M) Puthur unit member. On information, officials did rush only to return empty-handed.
In Karur, unidentified persons left behind saris and dhotis at the doorsteps of villagers and houses in semi-urban areas and covers with Rs. 200 each. In Sivaganga, three cases were registered against AIADMK functionaries on charges of distributing cash for vote. Police arrested 54 congress volunteers, led by former MLA Rajasekaran, on Tuesday when they staged a road roko agitation, alleging distribution of money to voters by the AIADMK functionaries through out the constituency.