Rs 89 crore on paper, actual cash seized Rs 32 lakh: EC scrapped TN bypoll

Even the demonetisation of Rs 500 and 1,000 notes, announced last November 8, had failed to arrest cash flow in the recently-concluded assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa.

Written by Ritika Chopra | New Delhi | Published: April 11, 2017 3:48 am
rk nagar bypoll, rk nagar bye-elections, jayalalithaa, sasikala, aiadmk, chennai, tamil nadu by-election, election commission, byelection cancelled in rk nagar constituency, bribery, cash for vote, india news, tamil nadu news, indian express State Health Minister C Vijayabhaskar after meeting I-T officials in Chennai on Monday. PTI

The Election Commission’s decision to cancel the RK Nagar bypoll on grounds of “vitiated atmosphere” was based on actual cash seizures totalling Rs 31.91 lakh and “some loose sheets”, found with the Tamil Nadu Health Minister’s accountant, “indicating” distribution of Rs 89 crore to politicians for bribing voters.

RK Nagar is the third assembly seat where polls have been rescinded on account of money being used to influence voters. Last year, the EC cancelled elections in Thanjavur and Aravakurichi seats in Tamil Nadu for the same reason, except that the total seizures in this case amounted to Rs 7.12 crore cash, 429.24 litres of liquor and 33.256 kg of silver worth Rs 9 lakh from Aravakurichi, and Rs 75.2 lakh cash and 2,145.12 litres of liquor from Thanjavur, up to May 15, 2016.

As per EC’s records, a total of 35 FIRs were registered based on complaints of cash or gift distribution in RK Nagar, which include incidents such as Rs 78,000 seized from three people who were allegedly distributing cash to voters on Satyamoorthy Street on April 4 and Rs 89,000 cash confiscated from six persons, who were also allegedly bribing voters in Vinoba Nagar on April 5. In another example quoted by the EC in its 29-page order, a man named Thiru Krishnamoorthy was arrested for handing out money to electors at Veeraraghavan Street, New Washermenpet and Rs 6,420 cash was seized from him.

The biggest one-time cash seizure in the RK Nagar seat, among the examples quoted by EC in its order, took place on April 5 when a flying squad officer confiscated a total of Rs 9.9 lakh from 12 people allegedly distributing cash in Ajis Nagar, Korukkupet.

According to the EC, the loose sheets found by the IT department at the state health minister’s premises were “incriminating” in nature as they provided details of Rs 89 crore distributed among different politicians for bribing voters.

The poll panel has often lamented the excessive influence of black money in elections. Even the demonetisation of Rs 500 and 1,000 notes, announced last November 8, had failed to arrest cash flow in the recently-concluded assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa. The total cash seized across the five states increased almost four-fold to Rs 190 crore as opposed 2012 elections.

However, the four-fold jump in cash seizure didn’t lead to countermanding of polls in any seat.

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  1. S
    Apr 11, 2017 at 6:02 pm
    Basically the journo is emphasising that whatever had come off the raids are all eye wash and that she has top notch inside knowledge that the electioneering was completely above board. Also the article seems to further imply that it's the election commission which is sold. This is how pressitudes go about selling their wares!!!!!
    1. M
      Apr 11, 2017 at 4:15 pm
      Our politicians and corrupt leaders ( goes goes to the top!) are are so talented that a away will be found even in the strictest of rules
      1. T
        Apr 11, 2017 at 10:55 am
        EC has acted with ulterior motive in s ping the R.K.Nagar bye-poll . Rs 32 lakhs seizure is nothing and "some loose sheet" is sheer nonsense as it looks like a plant by Income Tax officials and EC clung to it like holding a straw during deluge.
        1. M
          M. Kapil
          Apr 11, 2017 at 10:50 am
          Poor reporting. Everybody knows what was happening in R.K. Nagar, What do you expect to find: cash receipts and stamp paper do ents? With these so-called loose sheets of paper, the IT department must make the minister's sidekicks to sing. Make them approvers. No wrong-doer ever keeps anything incriminating at home. It is for the government agencies to convert these leads into credible evidence.
          1. G
            Apr 11, 2017 at 12:53 pm
            When mere papers cannot bring our NaMo and other BJP leaders to justice ( as per our Supreme Court) . how is that the EC finds it more valuable.