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The crores EC seized before postponing polls to 2 Tamil Nadu seats

The team also seized 200 sarees and dhotis with slips reportedly revealing these had been bought at Rs.1.30 crore.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai |
May 18, 2016 1:42:41 am
tamil nadu assembly elections, tamil nadu polls, DMK, AIADMK, EC, election commission, indian express elections Sealing the EVMs in Coimbatore. Counting is on Thursday. PTI photo

The Election Commission has linked candidates of both the DMK and the AIADMK to cash seizures leading to the postponement of the polls in Tamil Nadu’s Aravakurichi and Thanjavur. The Opposition had demanded the postponement following the seizures.

Among various reasons in a statement two days ahead of scheduled polling, the EC cited an income-tax raid on the house of one Ambunathan in Aravakurichi, from where the team allegedly seized Rs 4.77 crore and documents linking the cash to some prominent AIADMK ministers. The team also seized 200 sarees and dhotis with slips reportedly revealing these had been bought at Rs.1.30 crore.

“Further, a number of currency counting machines were seized along with some unregistered ambulance vehicles, which were suspected to be used for transporting the money,” said the EC statement.

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The statement referred to another seizure in the same constituency, this one from the house of DMK candidate K C Palanisamy, a senior leader in his eighties, who is also an industrialist. On May 10, the income-tax department searched the houses of Palanisamy and his son K C P Sivaraman in Chennai and Karur. “The total cash seized in the above searches amounted to Rs 1.98 crore, out of which Rs 95 lakh was seized from the house of candidate Palanisamy,” said the statement.

The EC had another seven FIRs registered in the constituency, one of these against a person who was allegedly distributing money to voters and fled when a flying squad arrived, reportedly leaving Rs 68,000 behind. Also, 33 complaints of money distribution were registered in the grievance redress portal that election authorities had set up for the constituency.

In Thanjavur, meanwhile, a tip-off from an expenditure observer led to a major seizure. A flying squad raided Muthu Lodge on May 13 and reportedly seized Rs 5 lakh from the terrace, Rs 15 lakh from a room and notes with names of people to whom Rs 35 lakh had already been distributed.

On May 14 in Thanjavur, according to the EC statement, a flying squad searched a vehicle and found AIADMK pamphlets allegedly printed without permission and a bundle of notes that allegedly detailed how Rs 1.40 crore had already been distributed in 13 wards (out of 51 wards in Thanjavur), at Rs 500 per vote. “It indicates that despite of all the possible efforts taken by EC, more than Rs 6 crore was distributed by a single candidate in the constituency,” said the EC statement. “It is very painful to note that only about Rs 21 lakh was seized…”

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