More Cash Seized In Polls After Notes Ban Than Before: Ex-Election Boss

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There were more cash seizures in some states after demonetisation, says former CEC OP Rawat

New Delhi:

Demonetisation was thought to be a way of reducing the misuse of money during elections but the ground reality is different, says OP Rawat, who retired last week as Chief Election Commissioner. More cash was seized after the notes ban compared to previous elections, Mr Rawat told news agency ANI.

"After demonestisation, it was thought that misuse of money during elections will be brought down. But it couldn't be proved on basis of the data of the seizures," the former top election officer said.

"Compared to previous elections, there were more seizures in the same states," he revealed, referring to the five states where elections are currently on.

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The comments come at the height of fierce political sparring over the merits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's move on November 8 2016, to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 overnight, leaving 80 per cent of the cash in circulation worthless.

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Demonetisation: People wait in a long queue outside a bank days after demonetisation in November in 2016 (File)

At the time, the government said it was an attempt to choke tax evaders who stashed black or untaxed money. Earlier this year, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) delivered the stunning news in a report that nearly all of the banned cash had returned to the system.

As the Congress and other opposition parties observed a black day on the demonetisation anniversary last month, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the notes ban had achieved its larger purpose of making India a tax compliant society and formalising the economy.

OP Rawat retired on Saturday and handed charge to his successor Sunil Arora, who will preside over the all-important 2019 national election.

With inputs from ANI

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