New Delhi, April 23 IANS | 6 months ago

Money and liquor seems to be lining the electoral trail this election, if the latest figures of the Election Commission are anything to go by.

A staggering Rs.240 crore ($39 million) in unaccounted cash has been seized by the poll panel so far. The amount is much more than was seized in the assembly elections to 23 states since 2010.

More than half of the Lok Sabha election is over and four more phases are due till May 12.

Of the money seized, Andhra Pradesh tops the list with Rs.102 crore.

A mind-boggling 1.32 crore (13 million) litres of liquor, mostly moonshine, has been seized, pointing to the intention of political parties to lure voters with spirit.

In a worrying find, 104 kg heroin was also seized by officials of the poll panel. The data did not indicate the states where the drugs or liquor stocks were seized from.

After Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu was the other state from where a large amount of cash was seized at Rs.39 crore, followed by Karnataka with Rs.20.53 crore, according to official data released Wednesday.

Around Rs.215 crore was seized altogether since the 2010 assembly election in Bihar, which was followed by elections and by-elections in 23 states, including West Bengal, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Karnataka and Delhi, according to the Election Commission.

In its effort to curb the use of black money and illegal funds in the polls, the Election Commission has deployed hundreds of officials in all the Lok Sabha constituencies and assembly seats where balloting is being held.

The monitoring mechanism includes flying squads, quick response teams and surveillance teams headed by executive magistrates to track down illegal cash transactions or distribution of liquor or any other items used to bribe and influence voters.

(Posted on 23-04-2014)

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