The Pune police say that the around Rs 8 crore seized from various places in the city in the last 15 days is the tip of the iceberg of illegal money flowing in the election season.
Senior police officers say the actual money spent on campaigns of candidates, especially from main political parties, is way more than the limit of Rs 28 lakh. “If one closely observes any campaign it is practically impossible to do it within the expenditure limit. The money seized is an indicator that huge unaccounted money freely flows during elections. The efforts of police machinery are never sufficient.”
A week ago, Rs 5 crore was seized from a car belonging to a bank in Bhigwan. In another incident, Rs 2.5 crore was seized from a car belonging to another bank. Final reports in these cases are awaited. Police say in both cases no proper documents were carried by the staff carrying the cash.
In another incident, Rs 20 lakh was seized from a car belonging to BJP candidate from Ambegaon, Jaisingrao Erande. Though Erande claimed the money was from sale of potatoes to a trader in Mumbai, no receipts were with Erande’s son who was in the car. Interestingly, Erande approached Chakan police station with receipts hours after the money was seized.
On Sunday, Rs 1.5 lakh was seized in Daund from Rashtriya Samaj Paksha leader’s car. A probe was on till reports last came in.
“Large sums of cash is required for printing banners, stickers, flex boards, fleets of vehicles candidates use, fuel used in vehicles, paying political workers who in most cases are local youth. Money is needed for food and liquor for workers.” The officer added, “Another use of this cash is for direct distribution or gifts, mainly in slum areas. If one has a perception that money is paid to voters only in slum areas, it is wrong. People from well-off residential societies also accept money or favours from leaders in election time,” said a senior officer with the Pune rural police who did not wish to be named.
An officer of DCP rank from Pune city police said, “Political parties raise money from traders to be given to candidates. The parties expect candidates to raise money from local sources. We have come to know that some parties ask candidates if they can raise a certain amount and only then the ticket is given.”