NEW DELHI: The Election Commission Wednesday said record seizures worth Rs 331 crore have been made so far in the four poll-going states and Puducherry as part of the expenditure monitoring process.
The seizures already surpass the total seizures made in assembly elections to these states and the union territory in 2016, it said.
"Significant point is that record seizures have been made even though polling is yet to start," the commission said in a statement.
A maximum of Rs 127.64 crore worth seizures have been made in Tamil Nadu, while Rs 112.59 crore worth seizures have been made from West Bengal.
For effective monitoring to curb black money in assembly elections in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Union Territory of Puducherry, the poll panel has deployed 295 expenditure observers.
It has also appointed five special expenditure observers. These officers having formidable domain expertise and impeccable track record are deputed for more effective election expenditure monitoring.
After due assessment, 259 assembly constituencies have been marked as "expenditure sensitive constituencies" for a more focussed vigil, the statement said.
Distributing cash and gifts during electoral process is not permitted under the law -- distribution of money, liquor, or any other item disbursed and given to the electors with the intent to influence them.
This expenditure comes under the definition of "bribery" which is an offence both under section 171B of the Indian Penal Code and under the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
The five assemblies are going for polls beginning March 27.