Karnataka election: ECI takes note of ₹305 cr seizures

CEC directs officials to tighten vigilance against money power and drug menace in Karnataka

NEW DELHI | Updated: 01 May, 2023 10:16 pm IST

Taking note of seizures worth over ₹305 crores to date in poll-bound Karnataka, the Election Commission of India decided to crack the whip and called for fixing the responsibility of the local officials to instil fear among the violators.

In a review meeting, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar called to “fix the responsibility of local officers failing to control money power”.

CEC asked the officials to “step up the seizures with support from adjoining border states and instil fear of administration amongst the violators to fulfil Commission’s resolve of an inducement-free election in the state”.

With more than a week left for the election, the total seizure, to date, is pegged at ₹305 crores. Incidentally, the total seizures in the 2018 assembly election was worth ₹83 crores.

CEC Kumar also emphasised the need for vigil over the 185 interstate checkpoints across the six neighbouring states. “It should be done to ensure no cross-border movement of illicit cash, liquor, drugs, freebies takes place,” he had said in the meeting.

Taking a stringent view to curtail the drug menace CEC Kumar also directed Coast Guard and Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) officials to keep a strict vigil.

CEC also directed officials to keep a strict watch over social media for any violations and fake narratives vitiating the election atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey asked the officials for “strict action against anti-social elements, follow up of pending NBWs and strict vigil during the silence period to ensure elections without fear and favour”.

Election Commissioner Arun Goel asked the officials to tighten vigilance without causing inconvenience to the public and ensure thorough follow-up post-seizure operations.

ECI bench, led by CEC Rajiv Kumar, held a video conference with Chief Secretaries, DGP, Nodal Police Officers, Nodal Officer CAPF and senior officials from enforcement agencies including the Coast Guard, NCB, Income-Tax, etc of Karnataka and border states of Goa, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala to review the election arrangements, law and order coordination in view of the ongoing Karnataka assembly poll.

Additional Secretary (Police) MHA, IG (CRPF), Executive Director (TT and Coaching), Railways and senior officials from the Commission were also present in the meeting.

The election commission deployed 2,040 flying squads, 20,605 static surveillance teams, 266 video viewing teams, 631 video surveillance teams and 225 accounting teams for the Karnataka assembly election.

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