The seizure of illegal inducements to voters, such as liquor and cash, during the ongoing polls to five assemblies and by-polls to some seats has crossed the record value of Rs 1,000 crore, a whopping jump of over four times since the 2016 polls, the Election Commission said Friday.
An Election Commission “progressive” report, which will get updated as the remaining phases of poll are conducted, said the maximum Rs 446.28 crore was seized in Tamil Nadu, where the elections have already ended, followed by West Bengal (Rs 300.11 crore), where four phases are yet to take place.
Polling in Assam, Kerala and the Union Territory of Puducherry has also finished. Counting of votes for these five assemblies is slated to be held on May 2.
The poll-panel called these seizures by its various field and technical enforcement teams a “historic milestone” achieved “for the first time in any assembly electoral process”, meaning during simultaneously-held assembly polls.
“The stupendous rise in seizure figures is because of better preparedness and multi-pronged strategy of the Commission. The Commission conducted exhaustive reviews at various levels which included review meetings with enforcement agencies of the state/UT and central agencies,” the Election Commission said in a statement.
The agencies of the Union government primarily include the Income Tax Department, the Customs and GST directorates and the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
According to data compiled till Thursday, the Election Commission said, Tamil Nadu had reported a total seizures of Rs 446.28 crore, West Bengal Rs 300.11 crore (so far), Assam 122.35 crore, Kerala Rs 84.91 crore, Puducherry Rs 36.95 crore.
Additionally, the seizure of cash, liquor, drugs and other freebies of Rs 10.84 crore was reported in constituencies that saw by-polls during the same period, it said.
The total value of these seizures stands at Rs 1001.44 crore while it was Rs 225.77 crore in these five assemblies during the 2016 assembly polls.