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Poll-related seizures piling up close to Rs 9,000 crores

By TIOL News Service

NEW DELHI, MAY 20, 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. Detailed report at Annexure A.

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, 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.

Operation 1: (Seizures - Rs 602 crore)

A joint force identified and intercepted a suspected Pakistani fishing boat, 'Alraza' which was carrying 14 crew members, all Pakistani on Indian waters, 180 nautical miles off the coast of Porbandar, Gujarat. The joint team of Gujarat ATS and Narcotics Control Bureau (Operations), New Delhi recovered 78 boxes of contraband suspected to be Heroin weighing roughly 86 Kgs worth nearly Rs. 602 Crore in the international market. The boat and crew were brought to Porbandar for further legal procedures.

Operation 2: (Seizures - Rs 230 crores)

Operation was based on intelligence received by ATS Gujarat that units in Rajasthan and Gujarat are involved in the illicit manufacturing of psychotropic substances such as Mephedrone. Joint teams of Gujarat ATS and NCB (Operations) Delhi conducted simultaneous raids at Amreli and Gandhinagar in Gujarat, Sirohi and Jodhpur in Rajasthan on 27th April 2024, and seized illicit manufacturing units involved in the production of Mephedrone, a psychotropic substance under the NDPS Act. In the ongoing operations, 10 individuals have so far been detained and a total of 22 kgs of Mephedrone powder and 124 litres of Mephedrone in liquid form has been seized. The total value of the seized psychotropic substance, Mephedrone is estimated to be around Rs. 230 crores in the international market.

Operation 3: (Seizures worth Rs 60 crore)

Gujarat ATC, Indian Coast Guard and NCB seized 173 Kgs of Hashish worth Rs. 60.5 Crore has been seized on 29.04.2024

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 focussed vigil


The process of motivating agencies and having an active interface started in full force during last quarter of 2023. In first two months of the calendar year, already Rs. 6760 Crores worth of drugs were seized which conveyed a message that Commission has a 'zero-tolerance' approach to any form of inducements which may influence the voters. 

The commitment of the Commission to contribute in crusade of drugs particularly during enforcement of MCC has gathered momentum in last couple of years. Apart from the seizures made recently as mentioned above, last two years has also seen huge seizures being made during the operation of Model Code of Conduct in previously conducted Assembly Elections in last few states. Along with free, fair, participative and violence connotation, "inducement-free" dimension has also been added as top priority for qualitative election process.


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