Shillong, Feb 10: In a major crackdown against use of money in elections, authorities have seized large sum of cash from multiple locations during raids and checking of vehicles for the upcoming assembly in the State. The seizures have have especially high in East Khasi Hills, informed Meghalaya Chief Electoral Officer, F. R Kharkongor.
To ensure the upcoming assembly elections are free of money power and coercion, the state machinery under the election commission have been doing regular checking and raids.
Kharkongor said huge cash have been seized from all the entry points into the East Khasi Hills district including areas within Shillong city.
On questions on how the illegal cash is verified, the CEO informed that there is the Election Expenditure Monitoring Team (EEM) headed by the DC, which has various members. In addition, there are 21 central expenditure observers deployed.
“But institutionally there is the DC who is the chairman and there are election expenditure member teams who sit and verify based on the documentation,” he said.
He further said if the documentation is in place and if its genuine, then the money is released to the person. If the persons cannot produce documents or the answers are doubtful, then they are kept till such time that the elections are on and after that these committees review it. If the seizure is Rs. 10 lakhs and more, they also inform the income tax.
Coming to seizure of drugs during election period, Kharkongor said major seizures have been due to all enforcement agencies working together to ensure fairness in the political process as measures put in by the election commission and because of the presence of SSTs and FSTs.
“There is much more seizure now than probably in non-election period because all agencies are working together in a collaborative and cohesive mode and with intensive efforts. This seizure which has been there since the 18th which was in the Model Code of Conduct, it’s quite a significant volume that has been caught,” added the CEO.
He further said the monitoring process will continue in the state till the time that elections are held so as to ensure there is no vitiation of the polling process.