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Election-time seizures to cross Rs 9,000 crores in the country soon

K M Dayashankar

Commission’s crackdown on inducements behind historic spurt

ECI crusade against narcotics continues; Drugs amount to 45% of seizures

Intelligence-based coordinated action, constant review and ESMS-enabled real time monitoring resulting in unprecedented seizures

NEW DELHI, MAY 18, 2024: Election Commission’s determined and concerted assault on money power and inducements in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections has resulted in staggering seizures worth Rs 8889 crores by the agencies.

Enhanced vigil against inducements including drugs and psychotropic substances has resulted in big seizure actions and continuous surge. Drug seizures have been maximum. Regular follow-ups and reviews of districts and agencies in areas of expenditure monitoring, precise data interpretation and active participation of enforcement agencies have led to this significant spurt in seizures since March 1.

The seizure of drugs, liquor, precious metals, freebies, cash influences elections in varying degrees, some flowing directly as inducement while others through reduced levels of circulation of money.  This, thereby, adversely impacts linkages of proceeds of illegal activities to political campaigns.

The Commission has laid special emphasis on seizure of Narcotics and Psychotropic substances. Analysis of data found that states/UTs which used to be transit zones are increasingly becoming consumption territories. Chief Election Commissioner, Mr Rajiv Kumar addressing the nodal agencies during one of the review visits had said Precise intel-based collaborative efforts by agencies against drugs and narcotics is need of the hour to root out the role of dirty money of drug trade in elections and more important and holistically, to save future of youth and thereby, country”. The contribution of seizure of drugs is Rs. 3958 Crores which is 45% of total seizures.

The Commission led by CEC Rajiv Kumar along with ECs Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu held meetings with DG, Narcotics Control Bureau to take up analytics-based proactive action for ensuring action by dedicated Nodal Officers of NCB. Similarly active involvement of DRI, Indian Coast Guard, State police and other agencies was ensured during ongoing elections.  All these measures have led to significant seizures in two months post announcement of polls.

With increasing intensity of campaigning in last three phases, Commission is keeping close tab on attempts at influencing voters through inducements and has directed the CEOs and enforcement agencies to step up the vigil. The crusade against drugs and other inducements by the Commission will continue.

Gujarat ATS, NCB and Indian Coast Guard, in joint operations have made three high-value seizures of drugs in just three days amounting to Rs 892 crores.

These elections have witnessed a series of targeted actions against the menace of drugs. Other states apart from Gujarat, Maharashtra and Delhi have also shown seizures of drugs. On 17.04.2024 Noida Police busted drug factory in Greater Noida wherein 26.7 kg of MDMA drug valued at Rs. 150 Crore were seized and two persons of foreign origin were arrested. The seizures in other cohorts have equally been impressive and surpasses the entire seizures of 2019 Parliamentary Elections by a big margin. Meticulous and exhaustive planning stands at its base.

Realtime reporting of interceptions and seizures under the Election Seizure Management System (ESMS)- an in-house app has resulted in quick, regular and precise reviews on expenditure monitoring. In addition, 656 Expenditure observers deployed for Parliamentary Constituencies and 125 expenditure observers are also keeping a close tab on check posts, functioning of ground level teams and are actively monitoring that citizens are not put to discomfort in the process of monitoring. A close vigil is also kept in 123 Parliamentary Constituencies which are marked as Expenditure Sensitive Constituencies for more focused vigil.

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