DIBRUGARH: Unaccounted for cash amounting to Rs 10.68 lakh was seized by a flying squad and static surveillance team of the Election Commission of India (ECI) from a car in poll-bound Sonari assembly constituency in Charaideo district on Friday. Sonari is one of the four assembly seats in Assam where bypolls will be held on October 21, the other three constituencies being Rangapara, Ratabari and Jania.
The ECI's model code of conduct has been in force in the four constituencies since election dates were announced on September 21. An ECI official said that the seizure was made as per the guidelines followed during and before elections to check possible flow of cash for inducing voters.
"Cash amounting to Rs 10,68,550 was seized from a car in Sonari. The cash was seized as its carrier did not carry any authorization letter granting permission to carry cash over Rs 50,000 as per the model code of conduct. The source of the seized cash is being verified. Since the seized amount is above Rs 10 lakh, it has been referred to the income tax department," an election official said.
Sonari, Rangapara, Ratabari and Jania are the four seats in Assam, out of the 64 assembly constituencies across 18 states and union territories in the country, where bypolls will be held. The Sonari, Rangapara and Ratabari assembly seats, represented by Tapan Kumar Gogoi, Pallab Lochan Das and Kripanath Mallah of BJP respectively, fell vacant after the three went on to win the Lok Sabha polls.
Gogoi, who was the state power minister, won from the Jorhat parliamentary seat, while Das, the labour welfare minister of the state, won from the Tezpur parliamentary seat. Mallah won from the Karimganj (SC) parliamentary seat in Barak Valley . Abdul Khaleque of Congress, who represented the minority-dominated Jania assembly seat, won the LS election from the Barpeta parliamentary seat.
While the BJP has expressed confidence of winning the three seats it represented before the Lok Sabha polls, the opposition Congress is hoping to wrest the seats from the saffron party by cashing in on the 'failures' of the BJP government and also the prevailing resentment over a large number of people being left out of the National Register of Citizens (NRC).