New Delhi | Illegal cash of over Rs 60 crore has been confiscated from the five states facing Assembly polls, with Tamil Nadu leading the list with seizures of Rs 24.55 crore.
Even as polls have concluded in Assam and the third phase of voting is being held in West Bengal today, the Election Commission (EC)-appointed surveillance teams are taking action. The north-eastern state is still ranking second in the tally with Rs 12.33 crore having been seized there. In West Bengal, the figure stands at about Rs 12.14 crore, while Rs 10.41 crore has been seized in Kerala. Puducherry has seen seizures of about Rs 60.88 lakh, the latest EC data said. The cash seizures were made by EC-appointed special flying squads and surveillance teams and by officials drawn from the Income Tax Department. The total progressive figure of seizures made till now is about Rs 60.03 crore.
Some cash has been released after seizures in West Bengal and the figures have been compiled after excluding that. Polls in Assam are over now, a senior official said. The Model Code of Conduct for these polls came into force on March 4 after EC announced the schedule for the Assembly polls in five states. The first phase of polling was held on April 4 in Assam and West Bengal while the second part of that phase was conducted on April 11. Four more phases of polls are due in West Bengal. Elections in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will be held in a single phase on May 16.
EC, as part of its measures to curb the use of black money in the polls, has deployed expenditure observers drawn from central revenue services like Income Tax and the Customs and Excise departments. To keep a tab on the huge cash expenditure during polls, EC has also asked the Central Board of Direct Taxes, the Financial Intelligence Unit and the Customs and Excise department and state police units to keep a strict vigil.
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