GUWAHATI: Assam broke all previous records in seizures of cash, liquor, drug and other goods after the assembly polls were notified with several agencies confiscating items worth over Rs 110 crore, Chief Electoral Officer of Assam Nitin Khade said on Wednesday.
During the 2016 state polls, central and state agencies had seized goods worth less than Rs 20 crore.
Addressing a press conference, Khade said, "After the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) came into force on February 26 in view of the Assam assembly elections, cash and other valuables worth Rs 110.83 crore have been seized till date.
"Till now, seizures of drugs and narcotics worth Rs 34.29 crore, over 16.61 lakh litres of liquor worth Rs 33.44 crore, cash amounting to Rs 24.50 crore along with gold, silver jewelleries and gold bars worth Rs 3.68 crore have been made."
The items were seized from different parts of the state during search operations carried out by Assam Police, flying squads, static surveillance team, excise, and other enforcement and regulatory agencies, he said.
Freebies and other items like cigarettes of foreign origin, poppy seeds, black pepper, areca nuts, pan masala worth Rs 14.91 crore have also been confiscated, Kharda said.
"So far, 50 FIRs have been registered across the state related to expenditure violation and 5,234 FIRs lodged in connection with violation of excise rules," the CEO said.
However, he did not share the number of persons who were detained and arrested in connection with the FIRs.
Regarding MCC violations, Khade said, "A total of 2,696 cases have been registered. Out of these, 1,272 cases have been registered online through cVigil app of which 908 cases have been found to be correct."
After the polls were notified on February 26, all constituencies in Assam formed a minimum of three Static Surveillance Teams (SST) and Flying Squads (FS) each, with some even having six such teams.
"We have a minimum of 756 teams working across the state.
The seizures by all state and central agencies along with SST and FS have crossed all figures of last elections," an official of the Election department said.
Various regulatory agencies like Excise, Police, DRI, NCB, SLBC (SBI), Income Tax, RPF, CISF, CGST, SSB and BSF are engaged in enforcing MCC across the state and carrying out search operations and seizures.
While the first phase of elections was held on March 27, polling for 39 seats will be held in the second phase on April 1, and 40 in the third and final phase on April 6.
Talking about the second phase of polling on Thursday, Khade said, "We are fully prepared for it. Dispatch of polling and police officials began from yesterday."
In all, 345 candidates, including 26 women, are in the fray in this phase, the polling for which will be held from 7 am to 6 pm amid heavy security and strict COVID-19 guidelines.