Over Rs 300 Crore Poll-Related Cash, Liquor & Other Valuables Seized in State More than 2018 Polls -More Liquor Seized in Dakshina District this year than in 2018 polls
Mangaluru: As per State Election Commissioner, the investigating agencies at various checkpoints have confiscated over Rs 300 crore, including cash, liquor and other valuables, in violation of the model code of conduct enforced by the government to prevent providing freebies to the voters. It is learnt that compared to the 2018 legislative elections, this year the confiscated items are higher by Rs 186 crore. In 2018, Rs 94.3 crore in cash was confiscated, while this time cash seizure has touched Rs 109 crore so far.
Sources reveal after the election code of conduct was enforced so far Rs 109.14 crore in cash and Rs 22.14 crore worth of gift items were seized. Also, 19.10 lakh litres of liquor worth Rs 72.70 crore, 1,438 kg of narcotics worth Rs 18.29 crore, 149.42 kg of gold worth Rs 76.05 crore and 637.94 kg of silver worth Rs 4.44 crore have been seized to date. The value of confiscated gold and silver is estimated at Rs 80.49 crore. Cash and liquor confiscated are worth Rs 302.78 crore. A total of 2,288 FIRs and 5,422 cases under CrPC have been registered. It is learnt that a letter of undertaking has been obtained from 9,896 citizens. 15,182 non-bailable warrants have been implemented.
And here in Dakshina Kannada, the investigating authorities have seized more liquor and cash this time, compared to the 2018 elections in Dakshina Kannada. In 2018, nearly 175 litres of liquor and about Rs 10 lakh was seized in total. However, this time, as on 30 April 2023, 4,930 litres of liquor, 6.5 kg of drugs, and Rs 6.6 lakh has been seized.
According to officials, strict implementation of the model code of conduct and vigilance at check-posts are the reasons for the seizure of liquor. Meanwhile, there is pressure on excise department officials to seize more liquor. Interestingly, in 2018 Dakshina Kannada had the fewest seizures and stood last in the state.
As per Krishnamurthy HK, the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Dakshina Kannada, this time the district administration has added more sensitive expenditure pocket areas. As a result, these areas are monitored closely, and vigilance has been increased. In 2018, check-posts were set up by the district administration and a few by the police department. This time, separate checkposts have been set up by the excise and police departments. “While there are 26 check-posts set up by the district administration, the excise department has set up nearly 17 check-posts, and the police, both the city commissioner and Dakshina Kannada district police, have a total of 30 check-posts set up across the district,” he added.
Interestingly, Krishnamurthy, who served as the Assistant Commissioner in Puttur during the last state assembly election, pointed out that though the quantity of liquor seized in a month is large, when it comes to individual seizures, the quantity is only between five to 10 litres. He said, “There is no seizure of a large quantity of liquor. All the liquor seized is small in quantity, but the number of seizures is higher,”.
The data points out that the highest seizure of liquor happened in Puttur (1,158 litres), followed by Sullia (822 litres). The least liquor has been seized in Moodabidri (380 litres). When it comes to cash, the highest seizure happened at Mangaluru City South (Rs 6,60,800) and also 6.3 kg of drugs. Sources from district administration added that there is pressure on excise department officials from higher-ups to seize as much liquor as possible.
“As a result of this pressure, they are now ending up seizing liquor, which is taken by individuals for their consumption. It is not at all related to poll freebies,” an official alleged, adding that Dakshina Kannada district stands last when it comes to poll-related seizures, and the excise department is unhappy with it.