HYDERABAD: IN several instances, cash seized during elections is returned back due to a lack of ill motive. On other occasions, however, it is the involvement of multiple departments and agencies in the investigation that leads to the cash being returned.
Once the cash is seized by the police officials, the charge sheet lands up with either the revenue officials, the returning officers, the income tax department or is deposited in court. Except when the cash is deposited in courts, the treatment of the offence substantially changes and leads to the “decriminalisation of the offence”, allege civil rights activists.
For instance, when the amount gets to the hands of I-T officials, they check if the money is ‘black or white’. “They check if the amount has been taxed and if it is not, the tax is deducted and returned,” said Chelikani Rao, a former UNESCO functionary and a civil rights activist. The cash is returned when revenue officers take charge as well. “They give back the money after issuing a notice seeking an explanation, and the money is given back hardly without any deductions,” Rao added.
Padmanabha Reddy, secretary of the forum for good governance (FGG), said, “Without a proper account being kept, there is a chance of decriminalisation of the offence. The money is used for influencing voters, which is a criminal offence be so. Depositing the money with courts will ensure that there is a proper trial.”