Chennai: Since the Lok Sabha elections have been announced, 48 teams of flying squad who are on a vehicle check spree have been making news with seizing lakhs of cash, gold and mobile phones in bulk.
The teams are carrying out surveillance and searches to ensure that political parties are following the Model Code of Conduct which is in effect ahead of the general elections and bypolls.
The Chennai District Election Officer has formed 48 flying squads and another 48 static surveillance teams and special videography teams have also been formed to monitor violations and ensure there are no untoward incidents in the lead-up to the polls.
An official source said, “We check all vehicles. We had informed the general public to follow certain guidelines which includes carrying cash or jewels with proper documents.”
So what documents are they? “If they have drawn money from bank they should show passbook or Bank voucher. If it is jewels the bills/receipts must be produced.”
The main suspicion is that the money is carried for voters, he says. The seized items are sent to the treasury office for further inquiries. “With proper documents and valid proof the owner can take it back.”
The flying squad team is made up of Corporation Officials in the rank of Assistant Engineers, Assistant Executive Engineers, Assistant Revenue Officials and Revenue Officials.
Everyday the seized money to the tune of lakhs, sample this, few days ago, at Tondiarpet, the flying squad seized Rs 65 lakh from three persons in a car. The occupants carrying the cash claimed the money was the profits of a TASMAC outlet, but they could not produce the documents to prove it.
At Thiruneermalai huge quanity of gold was seized from a vehicle coming from T Nagar. The flying squad found 27 kilograms of gold, 14 kilograms of silver worth 8.75 crores. The persons carrying the gold claimed it was from a leading jewellery store. Again, the staff members could not prove it with documents.
In another instance, Rs 1.83 crores was confiscated and was claimed that it was for an ATM kiosk, the squad had to detain them due to lack of documents. When News Today spoke to a flying squad official he said majority of the seized items remain unclaimed.
“The teams were announced on 10 March and from the next day we have been on duty. Most of the seized items are still with the treasury. I had seized 200 mobile phone sets, no one came forward to claim it so far,” he said.
Meanwhile, the civic body, in order to keep track of the contents published on social media and the Internet, has decided to appoint a team to monitor the social media platforms to check paid advertisements. Members of public are also free to inform the Election commission of any poll violation in the toll free number 1950.