Expedite Search, Seizure Operations to Ensure Free & Fair Assembly Polls : EC To Bihar Authorities

File Photo of Election Commission of India.

File Photo of Election Commission of India.

During the Lok Sabha elections, various agencies had seized cash and banned items valued at Rs 35.27 crore. The amount is expected to rise further during the assembly polls, officials said.

Patna: The Election Commission (EC) has asked the authorities in poll-bound Bihar for expediting the search-and-seizure operations to ensure free-and-fair Assembly polls in the state, an official said. The directions were issued by the poll panel on Friday during a meeting with the observers of the 78 Assembly constituencies going to polls in the first round of the three-phased Bihar polls on October 28, Additional Chief Electoral Officer (ACEO) Sanjay Kumar Singh said at a press briefing here.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora and two other election commissioners, Sushil Chandra and Rajiv Kumar, held the meeting online. The EC reviewed the overall poll preparations, be it the issue of training or providing facilities to the elderly people, Singh said.

During the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, various agencies had seized cash and banned items valued at Rs 35.27 crore in Bihar. The amount is expected to rise further during the Assembly polls, officials had said.

Meanwhile, Friday was the last date for withdrawal of nominations for the third phase of elections on 78 seats on November 7, Singh said. Talking about Thursday’s seizure of Rs 8.5 lakh in cash from a vehicle near the state Congress headquarters, Sadaquat Ashram, the official said it was “not a raid by the Income Tax department”, rather the poll panel’s expenditure observers had received a tip-off that cash was being taken out from a vehicle near Sadaquat Ashram.

Acting on the tip-off, a flying squad intercepted and searched the vehicle and seized Rs 8.5 lakh in cash, Singh said, adding that Rs two lakh were seized from a person sitting in the vehicle while the remaining amount was kept hidden in it. The Income Tax department’s investigation wing has been informed about the seizure, which will take further action in this regard, Singh said.

Reacting to the seizure from the vehicle, Congress’s Bihar in-charge Shakti Sinh Gohil said, “There was no raid at the Congress headquarters in Patna.” Somebody was caught outside on the road leading to the Congress office with Rs two lakh in cash, he said, adding that there were three other persons, each carrying Rs two lakh in cash. “We have nothing to hide,” the Congress leader said.

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