Unaware of model poll code, common people land in trouble

Kavita Kishore
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Cases are booked for carrying cash without any proof

Thorough check:A flying squad inspecting a vehicle in Puducherry.— Photo: T. Singaravelou
Thorough check:A flying squad inspecting a vehicle in Puducherry.— Photo: T. Singaravelou

Even though the Puducherry Election Department held a series of meetings with government officials and political parties, the general public was not sensitised to the dos and don’ts of the Model Code of Conduct. As a result, over the past two weeks, there have been a number of cases booked against people who are not connected with any political party.

On Thursday, the flying squad seized Rs. 10 lakh in cash from a real estate businessman Subramaniam. He was proceeding home after a sale transaction when the squad detained him. He handed over the cash to the police, who subsequently gave it to the Income Tax department.

Subsequently, the IT Department has taken the money as advance tax, an official from the Election Department said.

So far, including Thursday’s seizure, a total of Rs. 15,03,770 has been seized. This does not include the money that was seized from people and released upon production of proper documentation.

Of the seizure, the majority of the cash has been from the general public, says the official.

The lack of a woman constable or officer in the flying squad has proved to be embarrassing for some of passengers, especially at night.

Sushila was travelling from Chennai to Puducherry at night when the car was stopped on a highway. Her daughter-in-law was feeding her baby.

A male police officer opened the back door without permission, carrying a video camera, it was very awkward for all the passengers, Sushila said.

Another commuter, Sathyan, complained that his car had been stopped in three different places along the Cuddalore main road.

“There is no communication among the flying squads, which means that every time I have to get out of my car and open the dickey. All three of the checking points were within 2 km of each other,” he said.

The flying squads are operating as per the Standard Operating Procedures given by the Election Commission.

If there is cash over Rs. 10 lakh found on the person, the Election Department is required to report it to the IT Department, which in turn will check for proper documentation before releasing it, an official said.

“Unfortunately, the public will have to put up with inconvenience for conducting a free and fair election,” said the official.



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