Source: 
Daily Bhaskar
http://daily.bhaskar.com/article/GUJ-AHD-gujarat-polls-eci-not-against-legal-cash-transactions-3945053-NOR.html
Author: 
Khayyam Khan
Date: 
19.10.2012
City: 
New Delhi

Ahmedabad: With Gujarat assembly elections round the corner, cases of cash seizures are making headlines on a regular interval. The mandate by Election Commission of India directs citizens to not to travel with more than Rs 2.5 lakh in cash. The ECI’s order is aimed at curbing the money power being used during election campaigns.

However, a PIL has been filed by the business community in Gujarat, seeking “restraint and moderation” of the Election Commission’s order that rules the seizure of cash beyond Rs. 2.5 lakh in transit unless the money has been appropriately accounted for.  It is to note here that Static Surveillance Team (SST) in Gujarat have seized more than Rs 10 crore of unaccounted cash in three cases alone viz Rs 9.30 crore in a van in Mehsana, Rs 5 lakh in Sabarkantha and Rs 70 lakh from Vijaypur taluka on Himmatnagar-Mehsana road. Earlier, the SST intercepted cash of Rs 1.43 crore (in 12 cases) out of which Rs 1.41 crore was returned as it was accounted legal money, and this proves that Election Commission is not against the legal transactions relating to business.

Reacting on the PIL, the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), along with Gujarat Election Watch (GEW) reiterated that legitimate business transactions based on cash should not suffer, but supports the ECI’s measure to seize unaccounted cash travelling from one point to another mainly to woo voters.

The ADR and NEW (National Election Watch) unequivocally supported ECI’s order that directs citizens to not to travel with more than Rs 2.5 lakh in cash to curb the money power being used during election campaigns.

This comes after the cash seizure method has proved ‘partially’ fruitful in several elections in last two years since the time ECI implemented the measure. There have been innumerable cases of cash seizures across almost all states during elections. The news reports of cash seizures by ECI in Andhra by-polls earlier this year stands at more than Rs 41 crore. The corresponding figures for Tamil Nadu assembly elections in 2011 and UP assembly elections 2012 are Rs 60 crore and 30 crore.

Also, in 2009 Lok Sabha elections, more than Rs 100 crore was confiscated by ECI.  These figures suggest how the money power made its way to woo voters during elections across the states.

In its bid to remove fears among the business community, the ADR and GEW (Gujarat Election Watch) appealed to all political parties to keep their expenses in limit, so that the elections take place in a free and fair manner and that the business transactions does not suffer during surveillance about illegal money transfer for political gain.

Assembly elections in Gujarat will take place in two phases – December 13 and 17, with counting of votes on December 20. 

 

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