THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala seems to be having a heady run up to the Lok Sabha election. Ever since the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) was announced on March 10, the law enforcement agencies have seized banned drugs worth Rs 14.2 crore from the state. The seizures were made by the Excise and Police teams together and alone. As per the data provided by the Election Commission of India, Kerala is the fifth in the list of the drugs seized since March 10. Gujarat topped the list as drugs worth Rs 500 crore were seized from the state. Punjab, infamous for its substance abuse, came a distant second as contraband worth Rs 117.33 crore were seized from there. From Uttar Pradesh drugs worth Rs 35.96 crore were seized, while from Manipur drugs worth Rs 28.18 crore were recovered.
Meanwhile, Rs 1.58 crore unaccounted cash was also recovered from the state. Tamil Nadu topped the list with a seizure of Rs 137.81 crore. From Andhra Pradesh Rs 95.79 crore unaccounted cash was seized. State Police Chief Loknath Behera told ‘Express’ the police have been maintaining utmost caution against the influx of drugs and illegal cash.
“In the case of drugs, we have formed joint squads with the Excise Department to tackle the issue. That efforts are yielding results. We have also formed state-level teams to fight the scourge,” said Behera. The Excise Department officers, meanwhile, said they have been keeping a close watch on illegal movement of liquor in the state. So far, liquor worth Rs 16 lakh have been seized from the state. Apart from this, precious metals (gold and silver) worth Rs 2.98 crore were also seized from the state.
Sources in the Election Commission said more combing operations will be conducted in the coming days. “The police and Excise departments are working in tandem to prevent the influx of drugs and illegal cash to the state. The Income Tax and Customs and Central Excise have also appointed district co-ordinators to formulate actions against offenders,” a senior officer told Express.