Around 90 big and small airports in the country have been put on an alert to keep a check on transportation of huge amount of cash ahead of general elections. On the direction of the Election Commission (EC), security, customs and revenue officials have been asked to monitor movement of passengers on commercial flights, helicopters and chartered aircrafts. Though the upper limit has been kept at Rs 10 lakh, officials have been asked to question passengers carrying more than Rs 1 lakh. Though passengers coming from outside the country are subjected to intensive checks for gold, now even domestic passengers carrying over 1 kg gold will have to justify its presence in their baggage.
“Nodal officers have been designated to keep a watch on passengers carrying cash and gold ahead of elections. We are making seizures but this is going to increase manifold as soon as the election nears,” said O P Singh, ADG (airports), CISF.
The air traffic control at all airports has also been asked to inform chief electoral officer when a chartered aircraft or helicopter is about to take off.
A senior officer said the EC had re-implemented a circular issued by the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security prior to Assembly polls in 2013. “The upper limit on cash and gold to be carried has been kept the same as that formulated during the Assembly elections in five states last year. There is no change in the amount of cash and gold and the EC has asked us to follow the same circular. But this time instructions have been issued not to give any kind of relaxation to anybody,” the officer said.
According to existing protocol some poll candidates and passengers are allowed to drive up to the aircraft. There are instructions to screen the hand baggage of these passengers
While Delhi was ruled by the Congress during the major part of the period under study, Jain said the white paper was not a political move.