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HomeExclusiveRecord Rs 1100 Crore Cash and Jewellery Seized Ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha Elections: A 182% Surge in Vigilant...

Record Rs 1100 Crore Cash and Jewellery Seized Ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha Elections: A 182% Surge in Vigilant Crackdown

In a record-breaking move, the Income Tax Department seized approximately Rs 1100 crore in cash and jewellery during the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, a significant increase from the Rs 390 crore seized during the 2019 elections. This marks a staggering 182 percent rise in the value of confiscated assets, underscoring the heightened vigilance of authorities this election season.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) announced the dates for the Lok Sabha elections on March 16, triggering the enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC). Since then, the Income Tax Department has been actively monitoring and seizing unaccounted cash and valuables that could potentially be used to influence voters.

Delhi and Karnataka were at the forefront of these seizures, each state accounting for over Rs 200 crore in cash and jewellery. Tamil Nadu followed closely with seizures amounting to Rs 150 crore. Other states like Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Odisha collectively saw over Rs 100 crore worth of assets being confiscated.

The ECI’s declaration of the election schedule initiated a nationwide enforcement of the MCC from March 16. This period has seen central agencies on high alert, focusing on preventing the illegal distribution of cash, liquor, freebies, drugs, jewellery, and other items intended to sway voters.

To combat electoral malpractice, each state has set up 24×7 control rooms tasked with monitoring the movement of large sums of cash. Individuals carrying more than Rs 50,000 in cash or new items worth over Rs 50,000 without proper documentation face confiscation of these assets. Items worth over Rs 10,000 are also subject to seizure under similar conditions. If valid documents are provided to prove these items are not election-related, they are returned. However, cash amounts exceeding Rs 10 lakh are referred to the Income Tax Department for further investigation.

The MCC applies to all political parties and candidates, aiming to curb unethical practices and promote fair conduct during elections. The enforcement of these rules is crucial to maintaining the integrity of the electoral process. This year’s significant increase in seizures highlights the rigorous efforts of the authorities to ensure compliance and prevent any attempts to manipulate voter behavior through illicit means.

The proactive measures taken by the Income Tax Department and other central agencies underscore the importance of transparency and accountability in elections. The substantial seizures this year reflect a robust mechanism in place to detect and deter the use of unaccounted wealth in influencing the democratic process. As the 2024 Lok Sabha elections progress, the vigilance of these agencies serves as a deterrent against electoral corruption, aiming to uphold the sanctity of the voting process and ensuring a fair election.

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