Black money, liquor flows in Bihar

Black money, liquor flows in Bihar
Black money, liquor flows in Bihar

PerfomanceGurus Staff

New Delhi

Three-times more money than LS poll seized so far

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”no” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]B[/dropcap]lack money and liquor are flowing freely in the poll-bound Bihar. The elections officials have seized nearly three times more unaccounted cash than what was confiscated during the entire Lok Sabha election in the state. Sources in the Election Commission of India (ECI) said that so far officials have seized nearly ₹17.5 crores(cr) ($2.68 million) as against ₹6 cr ($0.92 million) sized during the 2014 general elections.

Bihar Assembly polls will be held in five phases on October 12, 16, 28, November 1 and 5. Counting of votes will take place on November 8.

It is commonly believed that only a fraction of the black money used to lure the voters is seized by the EC during the poll process. Going by the sensational revelations made by Delhi’s hawala operators on TV channel and information trickling down from political parties, the state poll could easily see at least ₹1000 cr ($153.16 million) of black money transactions. With the month-long assembly polls yet to start, the seizure could go several times more, showing the duplicity of the political class in tackling this menace. Incidentally, while the BJP is making tall claims about initiating steps to bring back billions of dollars of black money stashed in the foreign banks, the opposition has been targeting it for failing to translate its promise into action.

The Bihar election campaign has not only been vitiated by the gutter-level campaign and personalized abused and invectives hurled by opponents against each other, but the menace of black money has posed a great threat to free and fair polls.

According to sources, the EC has also seized nearly 170,000 liters of liquor, and 820 kg of cannabis and 331 gm of heroin, which were likely to be used to lure the voters.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”no” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he poll has also come as bonanza for dealers in fake currency. Nearly ₹25 lakhs ($38,000) of fake currency has so far been seized mainly from regions close to Nepal border. It is widely believed that politician use this fake currency to lure gullible voters. Due to unrest in Nepal and blockade of border, the smuggling of fake currency from Nepal has come down, sources said, adding, “but once the situation normalizes on the border, we could see a big push of fake currency in the state.” The areas close to Nepal border are going to polls in the last week of this month.

While the Income tax sleuths are keeping a close watch on the passengers flying to Patna from Delhi and elsewhere, the fact remains that most of the black money is routed through hawala transactions.

A fortnight ago, a leading TV channel carried out a string operation which showed several Delhi-based hawala operators admitting they were involved in transfer of huge amounts of black money through hawala route to Bihar. The report should have alarmed the government and the ECI and given them a perfect lead to crack down on this menace. But, shockingly, nothing has been done so far to nab those operators. In the past in such cases of TV expose, the Government has been been quick to order a probe, but this time there has been a glaring inaction on the part of authorities to nab these merchants of corruptions.

While the Income tax sleuths are keeping a close watch on the passengers flying to Patna from Delhi and elsewhere, the fact remains that most of the black money is routed through hawala transactions.

Since the EC has a imposed a limit of ₹25 lakhs ($38,000) on the poll expenses of the candidates, the black money is not used of campaigning, but it is useful to put up dummy candidates to divide the votes of the rival parties and to engage workers in large numbers to spread out among the voters and carry out micro management exercise. Cash also comes handy to distribute among the poor voters a day before polling.

[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”no” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]T[/dropcap]he main stake holders, Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar know too well that outcome of the elections will have a great deal of bearing on the direction of their future politics, hence ethics or political morality has been given a complete go-by in these polls by their foot soldiers. While politician can be expected to use every arrow in the quiver to influence the voters, the Election Commissions’ failure to initiate auction against the hawala operators is shocking.

The result will certainly decide a sinner, but the nature of the verdict will always be suspect if the use of black money is not curbed immediately and these hawala operators not named.

1. The conversion rate used is 1 USD = 65.29 rupees

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