Drugs, cash, freebies, liquor and precious metals worth over Rs 1,760 crore have been seized from the five states where Assembly elections are underway, This is a record seven times more as compared to the polls in 2018, the Election Commission of India (ECI) said on November 20.
Assembly polls have already been held in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram. Elections would be held in Rajasthan on November 25 and Telangana on November 30.
The maximum seizure of ₹659.2 crore has been made from Telangana, closely followed by Rajasthan at ₹650.7 crore.
In Mizoram, no cash or precious metal was seized, but drugs worth ₹29.82 crore were recovered by authorities. The total seizure from the state was ₹49.6 crore, the ECI said in a statement.
The seizures made since polls were announced on October 9 were aimed at inducing voters. In the 2018 Assembly polls, goods and cash worth ₹239.15 crore were seized.
The commission said that seizures worth over ₹1,400 crore were made in the past six State Assembly elections held in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura and Karnataka, 11 times more that made in the previous assembly polls in these states.
This poll body said in this round of Assembly polls, it had embedded technology into the monitoring process through the Election Expenditure Monitoring System (ESMS) which is proving to be a catalyst. The ESMS has brought a wide array of central and state enforcement agencies together for better coordination and intelligence-sharing.
The ECI has deployed 228 officers from various services as expenditure observers. For close monitoring, 194 assembly constituencies were marked as “expenditure sensitive” seats.
The Commission also held reviews with Chief Secretaries, DGPs, Excise Commissioners, DG (Income Tax) and other senior officers of poll-going States and their respective neighbouring States and Union Territories.
The commission said the figures of seizures are expected to rise.