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Election Commission battles unprecedented flood of dirty money, seizures rise 3 times since 2014 elections

Election Commission battles unprecedented flood of dirty money, seizures rise 3 times since 2014 elections

Election Commission battles unprecedented flood of dirty money, seizures rise 3 times since 2014 elections
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By Kevin Lee  May 14, 2019 4:08:19 PM IST (Updated)

It is an open secret that elections are fought on money power, but the 2019 Lok Sabha elections have shattered previous benchmarks by a shocking margin.

It is an open secret that elections are fought on money power, but the 2019 Lok Sabha elections have shattered previous benchmarks by a shocking margin.

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) has seized cash, drugs, alcohol and precious metals worth over Rs 3,400 crore this election season, as compared to just over Rs 1,200 crore in 2014, as per official ECI seizure reports as of the May 12.
Tamil Nadu has the dubious distinction of being the state with the highest seizures, with cash and substances worth Rs 950 crore being seized during these elections, up to a whopping 5,000 percent from the Rs 17 crore that was seized in 2014.
Precious metals have been the biggest contributor to this, with Rs 710 crore worth seized, but the southern state is also where the highest amount of cash has been seized at Rs 227 crore.
Gujarat, which saw just Rs 2 crore seized in 2014, stands at second place in 2019 – Rs 551 crore worth of cash and substances has been seized by the EC – and 95 percent of this has been via drugs and narcotic substances, the highest in the country.
The national capital territory of Delhi saw Rs 425 crore worth of items seized as against just Rs 1 crore in 2014.
The report comes soon after an RTI showed that funding from unknown sources via electoral bonds was close to touching the Rs 4,000 crore mark in 2019, which would put official estimates of money from illicit or unknown sources crossing the $1 billion mark during the 2019 elections.
For context, India’s total spend during the 2019 elections stood at about $5 billion, according to the Centre of Media Studies, New Delhi.
Here’s where it gets scary though – that same institute has estimated that India will spend Rs 50,000 crore or $7 billion over the course of the 2019 elections, so in terms of sheer money power, this is merely a drop in the ocean.
 
 
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