Thursday, November 30, 2023

2018 ELECTION CASH SEIZURES: No case has been disposed of so far

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PNS | Hyderabad

No case connected to the 2018 election cash seizures has been disposed of so far even though the 2023 seizures have crossed Rs 200 crore. The Forum for Good Governance (FGG) has details of cases booked during the 2018 elections.

The FGG said that in all 3,561 cases were booked. They are MCC violations 1,080, liquor cases 1,875, gold, saris 52 and cash 548 cases. The cases of cash (Sec. 171 IPC) have not been decided so far. The FGG is receiving lots of complaints about the over-enthusiasm of the police in seizing cash and gold. Keeping the problems being faced by the common man and business community we suggest the following points.

FGG chief Padmanabha Reddy said in a letter to the CEO, “People have little confidence in the statistics being rolled out every day about the money and gold seized and their final outcome.” Within a few hours of the issue of the election schedule the police started checking and caught a huge quantity of cash and gold causing difficulties to the people. Wide publicity should have been given about the election schedule and people should have been informed not to carry cash worth more than Rs 50,000. In case more cash is carried it 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.

The FGG said that there should be clarity regarding the supporting documents one has to keep while carrying cash of more than Rs 50,000. “Clarification should be given about the quantity of gold which is exempted and what are the supporting documents one has to carry if it has to more than exempted quantity.  The SOP issued by the Election Commission of India stated there should be a committee at the district level to decide about the legality of money and gold seized and after inquiry decide the issue. In practice, the committee is busy with election arrangements and is not able to meet regularly. As a result, it is taking months to get the seized cash or gold released. Therefore we suggest that within 48 hours of seizure, the committee should dispose of the matter,” the FGG said.

The FGG said that there are reports from business people that when they are going to the bank to deposit money after the day’s sales the police are seizing the cash near banks.

“Wine shops in urban areas transact daily Rs 5 lakh mostly in cash. At the end of the day, they carry the cash home and deposit it in the bank the next day. Some wine shop owners complained that the police are waiting near their shops and once the shop is closed and they come out with the cash it is seized,” the FGG said.

“During the festival and marriage season, people purchase gold. Women like to wear gold while going to attend marriages and there are no supporting documents for old ornaments. You are well aware that the Election Commission changed election dates in Rajasthan keeping these factors in view. The FGG requests the Chief Electoral Officer of Telangana to protect innocent people and the business community from the police. Proper guidelines must be issued to the police especially at the cutting edge level so that only the real culprits are caught,” the FGG said.

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