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Business News/ News / India/  EC seizes record 4,650 crore before first phase of Lok Sabha Elections 2024
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EC seizes record ₹4,650 crore before first phase of Lok Sabha Elections 2024

In terms of value, drugs accounted for the largest share, accounting for 45% of the total inducements recovered, followed by freebies at ₹1,142 crore.

EC seizes record ₹4650 before first phase, the poll panel said. Premium
EC seizes record 4650 before first phase, the poll panel said.

New Delhi: The Election Commission of India (EC) on Monday announced a record haul of inducements ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. A staggering 4,650 crore in cash, drugs, liquor, precious metals, and freebies was seized between 1 March and 13 April. This marks a 34% increase from the 3,475 crore seized during the entire 2019 election campaign.

Compared to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the current seizures show significant increases across all categories. Cash seizures rose by 114%, while liquor and precious metal seizures rose by 61% and 43% respectively. Drug seizures saw a whopping 62% increase, at 2,068 crore.

Also Read: 'Standing instructions': EC on checking of Rahul Gandhi, Abhishek Banerjee's helicopters

“Enforcement agencies have made a record seizure of over 4,650 crore in ECI’s resolute fight against money power even before the first phase of polling for the 18th Lok Sabha elections commences on Friday," the EC said in a statement.

The commission attributed the increase in enforcement to deployment of advanced technologies, such as the Election Seizure Management System (ESMS), and the collaboration of multiple enforcement agencies both at the central and state levels.

The EC has identified 123 Parliamentary constituencies as expenditure-sensitive, and ramped up vigilance efforts by deploying 781 expenditure observers to monitor them. Additionally, it took “strict action" against 106 government servants, who were “assisting politicians in campaigning" in violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

Also Read: Lok Sabha elections 2024: Drugs worth 2069 crore seized, says EC

“The seizures reflect ECI’s unwavering commitment to monitor inducements and curb electoral malpractices for a ‘level playing field’, particularly in favour of smaller and less resourceful parties," stated chief election commissioner Rajiv Kumar in the statement.

The poll body said vigilance efforts were underway since the beginning of the year, and countrywide seizures in January and February totalled another 7,502 crore in cash, liquor, drugs, precious metals and freebies. “This brings the total seizure to over 12,000 crore so far, with six weeks still left in the election period."

Rajasthan recorded the highest seizures among all states and union territories, at 778 crore, followed by Gujarat at 605 crore, and Tamil Nadu ( 460 crore). Drugs seizure was of the highest value in Gujarat ( 485 crore), while Rajasthan topped the freebies list with seizures worth 533 crore. Punjab recorded seizures of 311.84 crore, with drugs constituting a significant 90.04% of the items.

In terms of value, drugs accounted for the largest share, comprising 45% of the total 4,650 crore worth of inducements recovered, followed by freebies at 1,142 crore.

In 2019, too, drugs accounted for the largest share ( 1280 crore), followed by cash seizures of 844 crore. Freebies accounted for just 60 crore back then.

Also Read: Lok Sabha Polls 2024 LIVE Updates: PM Modi bats for one nation one election, says ‘our commitment…’

The EC said it is also focusing on drug-related seizures. “There was a substantial focus on drug seizures, which accounted for approximately 75% of the total seizures in January and February."

Kumar said the commission stressed on strict compliance of civil aviation security rules on surveillance and inspection of “non-scheduled aircrafts", including helicopters and private jets, by income tax and airport authorities, police chiefs of districts concerned, border agencies as well as goods and services tax (GST) authorities.

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Published: 15 Apr 2024, 11:57 AM IST
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