Over 15,000 cases of an alleged violation of the model code of conduct (MCC) have been registered in Maharashtra and valuables worth Rs 118.12 crore have been seized since March 10, when the Lok Sabha poll dates were announced, an official said on Wednesday. The enforcing departments, including the Income Tax and police, have seized gold items and ornaments worth Rs 45.47 crore, cash worth Rs 44.22 crore, liquor worth Rs 22.05 crore and narcotic drugs worth Rs 6.30 crore during the crackdown, the official added.
"The enforcing departments also lodged total 15,095 FIRs against the offenders for violating the model code of conduct, with most of the cases pertaining to storage and distribution of illicit liquor, followed by the possession of firearms," Additional Chief Electoral Officer Dilip Shinde told PTI. "After the seizure of the valuables, the authorities concerned have launched an investigation. If the valuables are found to be valid, then it will be returned to the owner, otherwise they will be prosecuted," he said.
Of the total number of FIRs, as many as 13,702 were related to the storage and distribution of illicit liquor and were registered at various police stations in Maharashtra, Shinde said, adding that 602 cases were for possession of firearms. Rest of the FIRs pertain to possession of drugs and narcotics, unaccounted cash, gold, etc, Shinde said. "Most of the cases are filed by the enforcing departments, while poll candidates also files complaints with us," he added. Other cases pertain to banners, loudspeakers, inflammatory statements and meetings being held without permissions, etc, Shinde said.
"Besides, we have asked two TV channels to remove the contents, which had a potential to influence voters," he said. He said, over seven lakh officers, employees of the state are engaged in the conduct of election in the state, where the second phase of polling for 10 seats of the state will be held on Thursday (April 18). The remaining two phases of polling in Maharashtra will be held on April 23 and 29, and the results will be declared on May 23.
(With inputs from agencies.)