EC relaxes norms for bullion seizures

Ahead of the festive season, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has relaxed norms for seizure of bullion and jewellery.

It has asked its expenditure monitoring team to stop seizing bullion and jewellery during surveillance.

Providing relief to bullion and jewellery traders who had made several representations to the ECI following recent seizures, state Chief Electoral Officer Anita Karwal today said, "Businessmen and traders dealing in gold, silver and precious gems have been exempted from seizures."

"In case of an interrogation, the Income Tax (I-T) department will be informed for post verification on the basis of a declaration filed by the person carrying the items and videography of the details," she said.

"The items won't be seized as long as they are not associated either to a political party or to a candidate contesting the polls," she assured.

Meanwhile, the ECI has also suspended five members of the Static Surveillance Team (SST) who were arrested with five silver biscuits worth Rs 1.70 lakh in Modasa in neighbouring Sabarkantha district.

Karwal said, "Additional assistant irrigation engineer A T Patel, head constable Babubhai Bhikhabhai, Lok Rakshaks Rakesh Amrutlal and Dhaval Kumar, homeguard Shailesh Vankar and videographer Ramesh Prajapati were arrested and suspended immediately."

"The five have been booked under sections 384 and 114 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)," Karwal added.

The SST members had taken away the five silver bricks from an employee of a Rajasthan-based trader, when they were checking vehicles on Monday to enforce EC rule of seizure of more than Rs 2.5 lakh cash in transit, to check use of black money in elections.

Among other decisions taken by the poll body, the ECI reprimanded Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind Surat president Maulvi Faiyaz Laturi for violating model code of conduct (MCC) during Congress' minority cell programme at Tadkeshwar in Mandvi of Surat district on October 21.

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