Within just after five days of the issue of poll notification in Tamil Nadu, the Election Commission has seized heavy amount of cash and gold across the state. The notification was issued on April 22, and till now the EC has recovered Rs 55 crore of cash in the state. The cash recovered is even more than the amount of cash which was used by the EC during the Assemble Elections in the state in the year 2011.
The Election Commission has roped in IPS probationers and IRS cadre officers in the case. Besides the cash, the EC has also recovered gold coins, liquor, sarees and dhoti, which was meant to be distributed to the voters and seized it.
One of the main reason for this cash haul is the kind of measures that have been put up by the Election Commission. Rajesh Lakhoni, Chief Electoral Officer of Tamil Nadu, said, “All parties complained to us that cash was being used to buy votes. So we decided to use a two-pronged strategy to curb the menace. The first involves the enforcement and the second awareness. For the first time, we have Income Tax teams in each district to monitor cash movement.”
The number of flying squads has been increased in each district and also, the number of officers has also been increased to make sure that these flying squads work properly. Besides that, special IT teams have also been posted in each of the districts. Both of them are working in tandem to curb the malpractice.
Rajesh Lakhoni further informed, “The flying squads actively scour for information about cash, liquor or any other inducement in their respective districts. On getting the information, the squad goes and surrounds the place. The IT team is then informed which then comes to search the place. If anything illegal or unaccounted for is found, it is immediately seized.”
On April 25, a wholesome amount of Rs. 3.40 crore and 245 gold coins were found in a classroom of a school. Besides that, an amount of Rs. 4.8 crore was also recovered from the house of an AIADMK functionary. An amount of Rs. 6 crores was recovered from the Coimbatore and Karur. In another round, Rs. 36 crore were seized.
The EC has also launched an advertising campaign besides the measures that they have taken. The message that they want to send across with this campaign is ‘Your vote not for sale’. It has been launched in both the languages, English and Tamil, to enhance the impact on the locals.