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Rs 35-crore cash recovered in run up to Bihar polls


New Delhi: Over Rs 35 crore in cash, including Rs 19 crore under a special hawala operation, has been seized by the Election Commission-appointed teams in the run up to the Bihar assembly elections.

Acting on special instructions of the poll panel, the Income Tax Department conducted searches in Delhi and Muzzafarpur in Bihar, and seized a total of Rs 19 crore unaccounted cash, whereas, as a result of action undertaken by various EC-appointed teams in Bihar Rs 16.72 crore in cash has been seized till now.

“Income Tax authorities have informed the Commission that after searches approximately Rs 19 crore in Delhi and Muzaffarpur has been recovered as unaccounted money — amounting to over Rs 5 crore in Delhi from nine persons and Rs 13.75 crore from four persons in Bihar,” an official statement said on the efforts taken by the poll panel to check black money and illegal inducements in the poll-bound state.

“Over Rs 35 crore cash has been seized in these two separate instances in connection with Bihar polls,” a senior official said.

As part of the other seizures, an official data said, EC appointed flying squads and special police teams seized Nepalese currency of Rs 65.03, fake Indian currency notes with face value of Rs 16.72 lakh, and Rs 60.30 lakh in foreign currency till now.

Apart from cash, these teams also seized 71,920 litres of liquor, 827.91 kg ganja, 9,132kg mahua, 336 grams of heroin, and 8.25 kg gold and jewellery suspected to being transported as illegal inducements for the voters.

The EC had issued special instructions in this regard and had issued another set of directions after a TV channel conducted a sting operation allegedly featuring the influence of these items to disturb the level playing field in Bihar.

The Commission expressed serious concern about use of illegal money in elections.

The Commission further directed that it expects that in Bihar state assembly elections, all agencies must make all round efforts with real-time intelligence sharing with each other and monitor such suspicious transactions.

“The Commission had also stated that expenditure sensitive areas and persons likely to be associated with such hawala operations must be identified and mapped. As the election process has already started, such actionable intelligence must be put to use at once,” the EC said today.

Keeping in the view the ongoing elections, identified and suspected hawala operators are being kept under surveillance by respective authorities and investigations are on in cases of unaccounted money.

The first round of polling for the five-phase elections will be held tomorrow.

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