EC seizes about Rs 331 cr from 4 poll-bound states

Kolkata: The Election Commission's (EC) push to curb the menace of money power in four poll bound states—Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala and Union Territory of Puducherry has led to a record seizure of Rs 331 crore till date with Bengal figuring second in the list of seizures which is led by Tamil Nadu.

The total seizure in Bengal is Rs 112.59 crores that includes Rs 19.11 crore cash, Rs 9.72 crores liquour, drugs and narcotics worth Rs 47.40 crores, freebies of Rs 29.42 crores and precious metals valued at Rs 6.93 crores.

Tamilnadu that leads the list has accounted for seizures worth Rs 127.64 . All these figures of seizures are till March 16 and there are still some more days to go before the elections. So it is obvious that these figures will go up further. Bengal will go for elections in eight phases with the first phase scheduled to be held on March 27. Sources in the Commission said that the seizures have already surpassed the total seizures made in these poll bound states and Puducherry (union territory) during the last assembly polls held in 2016. The total seizures in these poll bound states/UT in assembly elections 2016 was Rs 225.77 crores.

For effective monitoring to curb black money in the elections, the Commission has deployed 295 Expenditure Observers and five Special Observers. B Murali Kumar, ex-IRS, 1983 batch is the Special Expenditure Observer for Bengal.

Distributing cash and gifts during the electoral process is not permitted under the law, e.g distribution of money, liquor, or any other item disbursed and given to the electors with the intent to influence them. This expenditure comes under the definition of "bribery" which is an offence both under 171B of IPC and under R.P. Act, 1951. The expenditure on such items is illegal.

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