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Indian authorities seize record $69m destined to buy votes

Published on May 13, 2014 1:05 AM
A file photograph of an Indian employee stocking alcohol at a store in Hyderabad. Influencing voters through illicit liquor and cash is an age-old trick across the country, despite heavy penalties prescribed by the Election Commission against vote-buying. --PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - Indian officials have seized a record US$55 million (S$69 million) in cash, as well as large amounts of liquor and illegal drugs, destined to buy off voters in India's election, the Election Commission said on Monday, as the mammoth vote drew to a close.

The haul was the biggest in Indian electoral history, which has long been marred by allegations of politicians distributing cash, alcohol and food to win support.

At the last general election in 2009, authorities captured 1.9 billion rupees in cash intended to buy votes. Officials privately concede that the real total is far higher than that actually found.

The Election Commission also discovered 22.5 million litres of alcohol and about 185,000 kg of drugs during searches over a lengthy election campaign that included five weeks of actual voting to reach India's electorate of 815 million people.

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