NEW DELHI: The seizure of suspected cash, liquor and drugs during the Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa and Punjab this year has witnessed a huge jump from last polls.
Uttar Pradesh has seen record seizures of Rs 115.70 crore cash, 20.29 lakh barrels of liquor worth Rs 57.69 crore, and narcotics weighing 2,725 kg worth Rs 7.91 crore, as per the progressive data recorded till yesterday of seizures made by the Election Commission-appointed surveillance teams.
The comparative figures for the detection and seizure of these illegal inducements in UP during the 2012 Assembly polls stood at Rs 36.29 crore cash and over 3,073 litres of liquor worth Rs 6.61 lakh.
A similar massive increase in seizures has also been noticed in Uttarakhand, where single-phase polls ended early this month, as Rs 3.40 crore suspected cash, 1.01 lakh litres liquor worth Rs 3.10 crore and over 81 kg of drugs worth Rs 37.88 lakh have been seized by these teams till now. Polling in one seat (Karnprayag) of the state has been postponed as a candidate had died.
The comparative figures for seizures in the hill state during 2012 stood at Rs 1.30 crore cash, 15,151 litres of liquor worth Rs 15.15 lakh among others. In Punjab, where the polls have ended now, the cash seizures this time stood at Rs 58.02 crore as compared to Rs 11.51 crore last elections, 12.43 lakh litres of liquor worth Rs 13.36 crore as compared to over 3,2978 litres worth Rs 2.59 crore and 2,598 kg drugs worth Rs 18.26 crore as compared to 53 kg worth Rs 54 crore during the 2012 Assembly polls.
Goa too has witnessed a similar trend with Rs 2.24 crore suspected cash being seized at the end of one-phase polls on February 4, over 76,000 litres liquor worth Rs 1.07 crore. The cash seizure in the beach state during last polls was a mere Rs 60 lakh while the drugs and liquor seizure was very less. The compara-tive figures of these seizures for Manipur, where polls will be held next month, could not be obtained.
“It looks like demonetisation has not affected those who deal in black money and other illegal inducements used to lure the voters before and during the polls season. “The surveillance teams are, however, on their toes to thwart these efforts as much as possible,” a senior Income Tax department official, involved in these operations, said. The counting of votes for all the five states will take place on March 11.