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Monday, February 18, 2013

Crores of money & ammunition seized in Nagaland - Indian Elections


India is the biggest democracy and Elections are festivals for the people………. In some places, votes are bought; money and muscle power sometimes decides the fate of the constituency…

In the mainland, inside Parliament something unpalatable occurred in July 2008 ~ it was the ‘cash for vote’ scandal… it continues to haunt… a couple of months earlier, a Delhi court directed the police to "investigate from all angles" and trace the source of money in the 2008 cash-for-vote scam.  The court directed the police to carry out "fair and impartial" investigation without leaving any loopholes to instill confidence in public mind in the case.  The Delhi Police was told by the court that it can file an additional charge sheet, if necessary, in six weeks after the probe.  It is a scandal whence the ruling UPA allegedly bribed Indian MPs in order to survive a confidence vote on 22 July 2008. The vote in the Lok Sabha arose after the Left Front withdrew support from the government, who wanted to pursue an Indo-US nuclear deal. But despite opposition of BJP and Left, the Govt won the confidence vote and survived.

Sometimes one wonders whether things can be uniform in any perspective in this vast land, which has States with unique cultural, historical and traditional heritages. Clearly, when it comes to electioneering and way of party’s strategies, not much changes !

Today there is news of  Nagaland Home Minister Imkong L Imchen being detained near Wokha district for allegedly carrying a cache of arms and ammunition and Rs 1.10 crore in cash in a vehicle.  It is reported that Imchen was going to his constituency Koridanga in Mokokchung district from Kohima when Assam Rifles personnel conducting search of vehicles near Wokha district found the arms and ammunition, liquor and cash, the sources said. It is further reported that Assam Rifles personnel handed him over to the district administration and police. Imchen is the Nagaland People’s Front (NPF) candidate from Koridanga and is also the NPF campaign in-charge of Mokokchung district.

1 Crore is just a coincidence ! ~ couple fo days earlier, newspapers reported that  an Election Commission surveillance team had seized Rs one crore cash from a helicopter allegedly being used by a candidate of the Nagaland Peoples Front (NPF) in Nagaland. A team of EC-appointed observers seized the cash from a chopper, which was allegedly hired to ferry Nyemli Phom, who is contesting the Assembly polls from a constituency in Longleng district. The influence of money in elections in Nagaland is widely in the news though some have been campaigning for “Clean Elections”. Local newspapers report that apart from offering money, providing liquor and organising large feasts also became the norm. 

When Tamil Nadu went to polls in 2011, there were reports of , Election Commission and the Income Tax department  making seizure of Rs 54.17 crore of "unaccounted money"; that was not the final tally.  At that point EC's Flying Squad seized Rs 29.87 crore, its surveillance team recovered another Rs 9.24 crore. 521 FIRs  were  registered in the state and  how or whether they were taken to any logical conclusion, is anybody’s guess. 

People have forgotten an incident  that occurred in Trichy and one which was widely reported in all newspapers.  At that time it was described that crisp notes totalling Rs 5.11 crore kept in five travel bags on the roof of a private bus in Tiruchirappali was seized in the wee hours, making it the biggest haul of unaccounted money. The seizure was effected by S. Sangitha, a revenue development officer (RDO), who climbed up the stationary bus in the dead of night after getting a tip off from police.  Though ownership of the bus was made known, it was revealed that none staked claim so far for the cash seized.  

Some parties have mastered the art of distributing cash and material and the art of converting them into votes….

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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