Telangana Assembly polls: I-T Dept forms QRTs in all 33 districts; seizures top ₹340 cr in 16 days

A round-the-clock control room and Complaint Monitoring Cell have been set up to receive complaints from the general public.

ByAjay Tomar

Published Oct 25, 2023 | 8:34 PMUpdatedOct 25, 2023 | 8:36 PM

telangana assembly elections seizures

The Income Tax (I-T) Department has formed Quick Response Teams (QRTs) in all 33 districts in Telangana and deployed 150 officers for election duty, even as seizures over the past 16 days — since the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) was enforced — topped a whopping ₹340 crore.

I-T Director-General (Investigation) Sanjay Bahadur told reporters in Hyderabad on Wednesday, 25 October, that if a vehicle was found with more than ₹10 lakh in cash — and there was suspicion of a crime or connection to any candidate, agent, or party member according to Election Commission of India (ECI) guidelines — the Flying Squad Team (FST) and Static Surveillance Team (SST) would take the money and inform the income-tax authorities for further action under I-T laws.

Also read: KCR to kick off second leg of campaign on 26 October

Complaint Monitoring Cell set up

He said a round-the-clock control room and Complaint Monitoring Cell had been set up to receive information or complaints from the general public regarding cash and other items intended for illegitimate use in the election process.

The Complaint Monitoring Cell can be contacted at:

  • Toll-free number — 1800-425-1785,
  • Landline 040-23426201, 23426202,
  • WhatsApp, Telegram – 7013711399,
  • e-mail: cleantelanganaelections@incometax.gov.in

Furthermore, Air Intelligence Units (AIU) have been set up at Begumpet Airport and Rajiv Gandhi International Airport for 24×7 surveillance in coordination with Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) on the movement of cash or valuables.

The AIUs at all other airports in India which has connectivity to Hyderabad have also been informed to keep continuous alert on passengers travelling to the Telangana capital.

The Election Seizure Management System (ESMS) App is being used for the first time by ECI in this election for verification of seizure reports.

Also read: I-T sleuths question AMR Group after ₹3.5 crore in cash seized

Seizures: 16 days, ₹340 crore and counting

Meanwhile, unaccounted-for cash, valuables, food items, and narcotics worth ₹340 crore were seized in the 16 days after the MCC came into effect in Telangana, said the office of the chief electoral officer (CEO) of Telangana on Wednesday.

The highest value of the seized items is “precious metals” worth ₹156.07 crore followed by unaccounted cash worth ₹119.44 crore.

The seizure of gold, silver, and diamonds is worth ₹156.07 crores. This includes 230.68 kg of gold, 974.52 kg of silver, diamonds weighing 19071.25 carats and platinum of 5.25 grams.

The police and election officials confiscated liquor worth ₹18.67 crore. It comprises 78,290 litres of liquor, 18,874 kg of black jaggery, and 655 kg of alum.

A total of 3,800.795 kg of cannabis and other drugs worth ₹16.94 crore has also been impounded by the officials, the CEO’s office said.

Freebies such as vehicles, home equipment, clothes and cash, which were apparently meant to be distributed by political leaders and their aides worth an estimated ₹28.91 crore have also been seized.

These include 1.8 lakh kgs of rice, 5,077 sarees, sewing machines, pressure cookers, and a car.

Meanwhile, Congress has filed a complaint against the police to Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar regarding the poll related checks. The party claimed that these checks were inconveniencing the general public.

Related: Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy exit BJP, returns to the Congress

Notable seizures

The cops had arrested two Congress workers for allegedly trying to woo voters by distributing pressure cookers at Gopanpally Thanda on 9 October.

They were distributing pressure cookers to woo the voters, allegedly on behalf of Serilingampally constituency Congress leader Raghunath Yadav.

On 10 October, the commissioner’s Task Force (North Zone) and the Banjara Hills police in Hyderabad seized unaccounted-for money worth ₹3.35 crore during a vehicle-checking operation in Banjara Hills.

During the inspection at TV-9 Signal Junction on Road No 3 in Banjara Hills, the passengers of a vehicle were found behaving suspiciously, leading to a thorough search. Subsequently, the unaccounted-for money was discovered concealed within the vehicle.

Further investigation revealed that Chimpireddy Hanumantha Reddy, an employee of a private firm, and the other individuals in the vehicle were involved in the collection and distribution of Hawala amounts across the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

During the checks conducted by the Narsingi Police, unaccounted-for money worth ₹88 lakh was seized.

A day earlier, the Abids police, while conducting checks at Gate No 1 of Nizam College at 7.30 pm, stopped an MG electric car and discovered bags in the vehicle.

Upon inspection, the police found gold biscuits weighing 7 kg and pure silver weighing 250 kg. The occupants of the car identified themselves as Sai Kumar (driver), M Shiva Prasad (accountant), and K Venkatesh (office employee).