Drugs, cash, liquor worth ₹1,760 crore seized across 5 states amid polls: EC
While voting in Mizoram, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh is over, polls in Rajasthan and Telangana are slated to be held on November 25 and 30, respectively.
Freebies, drugs, cash, liquor and precious metals worth over ₹1,760 crore have been seized by authorities so far in the five poll-bound states, the Election Commission (EC) said on Monday, adding that the recoveries were a seven-fold increase in comparison to the 2018 assembly elections.
While voting in Mizoram, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh is over, elections in Rajasthan and Telangana are scheduled to be held in a single phase on November 25 and 30, respectively. To be sure, the seizures are likely to rise as the model code of conduct is enforced till December 3, when the results for all the five states are scheduled to be announced.
Freebies refer to a range of poll sops offered by various parties to the electorate.
“Seizures over ₹1,760 crore have been reported in the five poll-going states since the announcement of the elections, which is more than seven times ( ₹239.15 crore) the seizures made in previous assembly elections in these states in 2018,” the poll body said in a statement.
According to EC, Telangana reported the highest seizure of ₹659.2 crore, followed by Rajasthan which reported a seizure of ₹650.7 crore. While Madhya Pradesh recorded an overall seizure of ₹323.7 crore, Chattisgarh reported ₹76.9 crore and Mizoram ₹49.65 crore.
Rajasthan topped the list for the highest number of freebies, EC said, amounting to ₹341.24 crore, to lure voters, followed by Madhya Pradesh at ₹120.53 crore. Overall, authorities seized drugs worth ₹103.74 crore, cash worth ₹225.23 crore, liquor worth ₹86.82 crore, precious metals worth ₹191.02 crore and freebies worth ₹52.41 crore in Telangana, the EC statement said. Similarly, authorities seized drugs worth ₹91.71 crore, cash worth ₹93.17 crore, liquor worth ₹51.29 crore, precious metals worth ₹73.36 crores, and freebies worth ₹341.24 crore in Rajasthan.
In Madhya Pradesh, the seized quantity of drugs was worth ₹15.53 crore, cash worth ₹33.72 crore, liquor worth ₹69.85 crore, precious metals worth ₹84.1 crore, and freebies worth ₹120.53 crore.
In Chhattisgarh, the seized quantity of drugs was ₹4.55 crore, cash was ₹20.77 crore, liquor ₹2.16 crore, precious metals ₹22.76 crore, and freebies ₹26.68 crore, as per the statement. In Mizoram, however, no cash or precious metals were found or seized by authorities. Drugs ( ₹29.82), freebies ( ₹15.16), and liquor ( ₹4.67) worth ₹49.65 crores were recovered, the poll body said.
The seizures in the five states demonstrates the poll body’s “unwavering commitment to ensuring free, fair and inducement-free elections”, EC said.
The poll body also said that seizures of over ₹1,400 crore were made in the past six state assembly elections in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Tripura and Karnataka, which is 11 times the previous assembly elections in these states. “Enforcement Agencies stepped up their vigil in their respective domains and by the time the elections were announced, taken together, they had already reported seizures of ₹576.2 crore,” EC said.