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Money, other inducements worth Rs 4.28 Cr seized in J&K: ECI

Since the announcement of the election schedule, a total of 3262 complaints have been received pertaining to distribution of cash, liquor and freebies.
12:35 AM Apr 16, 2024 IST | SHUCHISMITA
money  other inducements worth rs 4 28 cr seized in j k  eci
LS Polls: ECI cracks down on money power in J&K; cash, liquor, drugs, freebies worth Rs 4 Cr seized --- File Photo
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Jammu, Apr 15:   Enforcement Agencies, following directions of the Election Commission of India (ECI), have made a seizure of money and other inducements worth Rs 4.28 Cr from Jammu and Kashmir, even before the first phase of polling for the 18th Lok Sabha elections beginning on April 19.

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The info has been shared by the ECI in its detailed statement on country-wide crackdown on money and record seizures of inducements.

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As per data provided by the ECI, in Jammu and Kashmir, different enforcement agencies, both from the Centre and Union Territory, have seized cash worth Rs 1.2466890 Cr; liquor 23964.59 litres, valuing Rs 0.6300640 Cr; drugs valuing Rs 2.3529220 Cr; precious metals valuing Rs 0.0025800 Cr; freebies or other items valuing Rs 0.0559150 Cr.

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ECI has recorded total seizures of inducements (including cash) in J&K worth Rs 4.2881700 Cr.

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Giving a detailed account of seizures of over Rs 4650 Cr across the country, ECI described it as the “highest ever seizures of inducements recorded in the 75-year history of Lok Sabha elections.”

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“With General Elections 2024 underway, the Commission is on track for the highest ever seizures of inducements recorded in the 75-year history of Lok Sabha elections in the country. Enforcement agencies have made a record seizure of over Rs 4650 Cr 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 Cr seized during the entire Lok Sabha election in 2019,” ECI has stated.

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Significantly, 45 percent of the seizures are of drugs and narcotics that are under the special focus of the Commission. “The seizures have been possible by comprehensive planning, scaled up collaboration and unified deterrence action from agencies, proactive citizen participation and optimal engagement of technology,” ECI said.

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Pointing out that use of black money, over and above political financing and accurate disclosure thereof, “may disturb the level playing field in favour of more resourceful party or candidate in specific geographies”, it has stated, “The seizures are a critical part of ECI resolve to conduct the Lok Sabha elections free of inducements and electoral malpractices and to ensure a level playing field, particularly in favour of smaller and less resourceful parties.”

According to ECI, its Election Seizure Management System (ESMS)- breaking silos and bringing all enforcement agencies on one platform through use of technology, is proving to be a game changer. “With the introduction of technology in the monitoring process, ESMS, an ECI in-house developed portal is proving to be a catalyst. The novel innovation for real time reporting of interceptions and seizures, avoiding duplication of seizures was tested in the last round of Assembly elections,” it has mentioned.

The portal facilitates digital trails and availability of seizure information at the click of a mouse enabling quick and timely reviews at all controlling levels. As per data, 6398 District nodal officers of various agencies, 734 state nodal officers, 59000 flying squads (FS) and Statics Surveillance Teams (SST) have been boarded on ESMS platform for exhaustive real time monitoring and updates.

All nodal officials have been trained on various aspects of using ESMS. The system took firm root during assembly elections during 2023, when Rs 2014.26 Cr was seized as against Rs 239.35 Cr in the previous corresponding elections. With successful implementation and feedback from the field in the last round of assembly elections, it has been reviewed and made robust before implementation in ongoing elections.

The largest number of enforcement agencies both from Centre and states/UT has been assembled for collaborative effort among agencies with meticulous and exhaustive planning.

In January and February, the months preceding the official announcement of General elections, countrywide seizures totalling another Rs 7502 Cr were recorded in the form of cash, liquor, drugs, precious metals and freebies. This brings total seizure to over Rs 12000 Cr so far with six weeks still left in the election period.

The cVigil app of the Commission has also reinforced the expenditure monitoring process through complaints directly from citizens on distribution of any type of inducements. Since the announcement of the election schedule, a total of 3262 complaints have been received pertaining to distribution of cash, liquor and freebies.

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