Drugs, Gold, Cash And Liquor: The Rs 3000 cr Dark Side Of Indian Elections

As the general elections unfold, Gujarat sees the highest seizure of drugs in the country, while Tamil Nadu steals the spot when it comes to cash and precious stones.
Image shows authorities destroying illicit liquor
Guwahati: Officials destroy liquor stored in drums during a crack down on illicit liquor in Guwahati on Feb 28, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

Since the beginning of the 2019 general elections in India, authorities have seized cash, liquor, narcotics, precious metals and other items worth more than Rs. 3166 crore as of April 25, 2019.

The Election Commission of India publishes a progressive seizure report of cash and other items on a daily basis, highlighting the dark side of Indian politics and the black economy that forms its foundation.

While the overall amount of cash seized during the course of the 2014 general elections came to Rs. 300 crore, the amount this year has already reached Rs. 750 crore.

This suggests a staggering 150% increase in cash seizure in just three phases, with four phases still remaining to go to polls.

Narcotics, Precious Stones and loads of Cash

Unlike the previous elections where the ECI was only able to provide the amount of cash seized, the estimated worth of liquor, narcotics, precious metals and freebies have also been provided in the seizure report during the ongoing elections.

BOOM extracted the data provided in the progressive seizure report dated April 25, 2019, and observed some interesting points.

Standing out in the report as the most seized item - according to its estimated worth - is narcotics, amounting to Rs. 1183 crore.

Precious metals come next at Rs. 944 crore followed by cash at Rs. 750 crore.

The overall amount of worth of liquor and other items such as freebies are paltry compared to the others, amounting to approximately Rs. 290 crore.


Out of the Rs. 1183 crore worth of narcotics seized, Gujarat - a dry state - is the highest contributor, with a seizure of Rs. 524 crore worth of illegal drugs.

Following Gujarat closely are NCT of Delhi and Punjab, with a seizure of Rs. 352 crore and Rs. 180 crore, respectively.

Precious metals

The seizure of precious metals in Tamil Nadu stands out as the most seized item from a particular state in terms of value amounting to Rs. 708 crore.

Trailing far behind after the southern state are Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, contributing precious metals worth Rs. 71 crore and Rs. 45 crore, respectively, to the overall seizure


Tamil Nadu also stands out as the largest contributor to seized cash, with the seizure amount coming up to Rs. 214 crore, while Andhra Pradesh trails closely at Rs. 137 crore.

Tamil Nadu seizes the day

The high amount of cash and precious stones seized from Tamil Nadu make it the biggest contributor to the overall seized items, in terms of its worth, amounting to Rs. 935 crore.

Gujarat takes the second spot with seized items worth Rs. 545 crore, owing to the high amount of drugs that have been seized from the western state.

Following behind are NCT of Delhi and Punjab, with a seizure of worth Rs. 395 crore and Rs. 235 crore, with narcotics being a large contributor to the seizure in both the states.

With four more phases left to go to polls, the 2019 general elections may as well be marked by the humongous amounts of illicit goods and cash being pumped in from India's bludgeoning black economy to influence voters.

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