LS Polls: ECI cracks down on money power in J-K

Cash, liquor, drugs, freebies worth Rs 4 crores seized

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Election Commission of India (ECI)

SRINAGAR — The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday stated that in its crackdown on money power, it has seized cash, liquor, drugs and freebies worth Rs 4 crores in Jammu and Kashmir and that it will continue its drive ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

In a statement issued to the news agency KNO, the ECI said that with General Elections 2024 underway, ECI is on track for the highest-ever seizures of inducements recorded in the 75-year history of Lok Sabha elections in the country.

Higher than total seizures in 2019 polls, the ECI said that the action will continue to be strict and non-stop. “ECI is on track for the highest ever seizures of inducements recorded in the 75-year history of Lok Sabha elections in the country,” it said.

It added, “Enforcement agencies have made a record seizure of over Rs. 4650 crores in ECI’s resolute fight against money power even before the first phase of polling for the 18th Lok Sabha elections commences on Friday. This marks a sharp increase over Rs 3475 crores seized during the entire Lok Sabha election in 2019.”

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“Significantly, 45% of the seizures are of drugs and narcotics, which are under the special focus of the Commission. The seizures have been possible through comprehensive planning, scaled-up collaboration and unified deterrence action from agencies, proactive citizen participation and optimal engagement of technology,” it went on to state.

It further said in the statement, “Use of black money, over and above political financing and accurate disclosure thereof, may disturb the level playing field in favour of more resourceful parties or candidates in specific geographies. The seizures are a critical part of ECI’s resolve to conduct the Lok Sabha elections free of inducements and electoral malpractices and to ensure a level playing field.”

The ECI states that the Commission during reviews had always emphasized that there will be multi-pronged surveillance on all modes of transport – check posts and Nakas for road transport, coast guard for coastal routes and DMs and SPs alongside agencies for air routes including checking of helicopters and non-scheduled flights.

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The ECI stated that in January and February 2024, the months preceding the official announcement, countrywide seizures totalling another Rs 7502 crores were recorded in the form of cash, liquor, drugs, precious metals and freebies. This brings the total seizure to over Rs 12000 crores so far with six weeks still left in the election period, the ECI said.

As per ECI figures, cash worth Rs 1.2466890 crores, liquor worth Rs 0.6300640 crores, drugs worth Rs 2.3529220 crores, precious metal worth 0.0025800 crores, freebies/other items worth Rs 0.0559150 crores have been seized in J&K. “Total seizures in J&K are worth Rs 4.2881700 crores,” the ECI statement said.

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