Hyderabad: Within ten days of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) coming into effect on October 9, with the announcement of the schedule for Assembly polls, Telangana Police across the state seized ‘inducements’ in various forms worth around a whopping Rs 243 crore.
For Telangana, it is a record of sorts as during the last Assembly polls in 2018, the seizures all along the period of MCC were just Rs 103 crore. Of this year’s seizures, the majority was in the form of gold, silver and diamonds.
Telangana Police had deployed 373 flying squads, 374 static surveillance teams and 95 state internal border check posts to check the movement of cash and other materials. Besides, special mobile parties have been deployed with round-the-clock monitoring.
Of the total Rs 243 crore, gold, silver, diamonds and platinum are worth Rs 120 crore. The remaining is cash, liquor, ganja and other materials. Police seized around 181.986 kg of gold, 693.371 kg of silver, and 154.45-carat diamonds.
Sewing machines, cookers, sarees, clocks, helmets, mobiles, lunch boxes and other kitchen items were also seized. Telangana DGP Anjani Kumar had requested all political parties to adhere to the MCC issued by the Election Commission of India for smooth conduct of elections and stay away from transporting such inducements and also cash.
However, civil society has been flagging such seizures as ‘irregular’ from common people, who are facing difficulties.
“There are reports that when business people are going to the bank to deposit the day’s sales, the police are seizing the cash near the bank counter. Wine shops in urban areas transact daily close to Rs 5 lakh, mostly in cash. At the end of the day, they carry such cash home and deposit it in the bank the next day. Few wine shop owners complained the police are waiting near their shops and once the shop is closed and they come out with cash, it is seized,” pointed out Forum For Good Governance secretary and retired bureaucrat, M Padmanabha Reddy.
He also wrote to election authorities seeking clarity on the broad guidelines. “Within a few hours of the election schedule, the police started the checking and caught huge quantities of cash and gold ornaments causing difficulties for people. Wide publicity should have been given about the election schedule and informing the people not to carry cash more than Rs 50,000 in case more than the limit is carried such cash should be supported by proper documents. There is no clarity regarding the quantity of gold which is exempted and for carrying more than that, what are the supporting documents one has to carry,” he said.
(Published 20 October 2023, 20:43 IST)