Poll officials fail to nail parties over cash, liquor

Though the district poll authorities have so far seized Rs.1.6 crore cash besides preventing illegal transportation of 1,569-quarter bottles of IMFL and 13,450 bottles of beer in the run up to the June 12 Parkal bypoll, they could not link them to any of the five political parties in the fray.

Sources said the poll enforcement authorities are merely doing a ‘seize and forget’ job without trying to link the source of the huge unaccounted illegal cash besides high number of liquor bottles which are suspected to be used for voter inducement. “It is very difficult to differentiate the seized cash into political and non-political nature because those carrying them use a front,” explained Rahul Bojja, district election officer and district collector at an interactive meeting with media persons on the administration’s preparedness for Parkal bypoll, on Sunday.

He pointed out that so far no politician was booked either during the ongoing Parkal bypoll campaign or during the recently concluded Station Ghanpur bypoll for distribution of cash and liquor.

According to Urban SP S Shyam Sunder, out of the Rs.1.6 crores seized by the police during the ongoing Parkal bypoll campaign, they had deposited Rs.6.36 lakhs in courts, Rs.83.42 lakhs were handed over to the Income Tax department and the rest Rs.71.21 lakhs were returned to the respondents.

Interestingly, when asked by a scribe as to why the police department was not taking help from their network of village level informers and local intelligence to conduct surprise raids at the source of money distribution points, Mr Shyam Sunder evaded a direct reply.

It is significant to note that besides the huge cash and liquor bottles, the police has also seized huge quantities of illegally obtained explosive substances from the possession of different people in various places.

The high quantity of explosive substances is a pointer that they would have remained in dark had the police department not increased surveillance for Parkal bypoll.

Meanwhile, the model code of conduct rules and implementation of other election related laws in Parkal bypoll campaign especially Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 and IPC (especially the sections dealing with ‘Offences relating to elections’) is reportedly proceeding in a non-serious manner. “The model code is a big fraud,” said a senior police official, who hinted at their lack of legal sanctity. The same view was also expressed differently by prof. M Panduranga Rao, co-ordinator for Warangal chapter of Election Watch AP. “During 2009 polls, many cases were booked for alleged violation of election laws in Warangal but they were not taken to logical conclusion,” he said.