The Election Commission has asked the authorities in poll-bound Bihar to expedite search and seizure operations for free and fair assembly polls in the state, an official said on Friday.
The directions were issued by the poll panel during a meeting with observers of 78 assembly constituencies going to polls in the first phase on October 28, Additional Chief Electoral Officer (ACEO) Sanjay Kumar Singh during a daily press briefing here.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora and two other Election Commissioners Sushil Chandra and Rajiv Kumar held the meeting online. The poll panel reviewed the overall poll preparations, be it the issue of training or providing facilities to elderly, Singh said.
During the Lok Sabha elections, various agencies had seized cash and banned items valued at Rs 35.27 crore. The amount is expected to rise further during the assembly polls, officials had said.
Meanwhile, Friday was the last date for the withdrawal of nominations for the third phase of elections on 78 seats on November 7, Singh said. Talking about Thursday’s seizure of Rs 8.5 lakh in cash from a vehicle near the state Congress headquarters, Sadaquat Ashram, the official said it was not a raid by the Income Tax Department, rather the poll panel’s expenditure observers had received a tip off that cash was being taken out in a vehicle near Sadaquat Ashram.
Acting on a tip-off, the flying squad team intercepted and searched the vehicle and seized Rs 8.5 lakh in cash, Singh said, adding that Rs 2 lakh in cash was seized from a person sitting in the vehicle while the remaining was hid in it.
The Income Tax Department’s investigation wing has been informed about the seizure, which will take further action in this regard, he said.
Reacting to the seizure from the vehicle, Congress’ Bihar in-charge Shakti Singh Gohil said, There was no raid at the Congress headquarters in Patna.”Somebody was caught outside on the road leading to the Congress office with Rs 2 lakh in cash, he said, adding that there were three other persons, each carrying Rs 2 lakh in cash. “We have nothing to hide,” he said.