Hardly a week left for the elections to take place in Goa and as the dates are approaching closer the Candidates are becoming more active in making their voters happy in whatever possible ways. Passing on the freebies and cash to the people is one of them. There are several instances of the cash distribution ranging from Rs. 1000 to 5000 per voter in several villages in Goa and some lucky voters also get the LCD TVs, Two Wheelers, and Mobile phones. The seizure of the Mobile Phones worth Rs. 10 Lakh from one of the mobile vendor in the city by the Commercial Tax Department has resulted into raising the concern over the existing situation in Goa.
According to the sources, the officials of the Commercial Tax Department of Goa has recovered the mobile phone consignment worth Rs. 10 Lakh from the mobile phone vendor in the city which was supposed to have been used for the distribution of the prospective voters in the state. The sources in the Commercial Tax Department has revealed that the above said consignment was found at the dealer’s place with no supporting invoice of Purchase and payment for the order was made by the third party (names not revealed by the department).
This is just the one of the case that has come into the light in the city, but there are hundreds of such cases of distribution of cash which is taking place in the Goa State and going unnoticed. Meanwhile, the sources in the Sales Tax Department has said that the illegal purchase appears to be an election-related offense and they will unearth the racket soon. The sources have further said that besides the mobile phone recovery there are cases of recovery of 35 LCD TVs and 40 Hero Honda Motorcycles and several Jupiter Scooters. The following stuff had been seized by the Sales Tax Department from Mollem and Patradevi check posts (both borders of Goa). Both the consignments of the two-wheelers were transported without prior intimation and therefore dubious, the senior official said.
Besides the above, there are instances of the seizure of Imported Liquors, Air Coolers from the Goa borders by the Commercial Tax Department, said the sources. Imported beer, viz. 75 cases of Amigo brand was found transported at Patradevi without invoice along with LED TVs (worth Rs 18 lakh) and air coolers on Thursday. The value of goods seized by the department during the two days is upward of Rs 1 crore. All the goods have been deposited with the returning officers.
The sources have said that the Assembly elections this time are witnessing rich haul of freebies ranging from pressure cookers, sewing machines, consumer goods, mobile phones and two-wheelers to expensive LCD television sets. Until January 26, field officers detained 75 vehicles after intercepting more than 457 vehicles. Detailed vehicles are being investigated for tax evasion, as they have not paid road tax, as well as over the possibility of use in the election to induce voters.
The election commission has prepared the list of list of vulnerable goods which they feel that there is a possibility of getting distributed to the protective voters and the list consists of mobile phones, television sets, refrigerators, two-wheelers & computers, said the sources. The 75 vehicles whose consignments are seized, did not give prior intimation, additional commissioner of commercial taxes Rajan Saterdekar said. “Through experience and trend in other parts of the country it is observed that some goods could be given out as freebies by evading tax by candidates or their agents,” he said.
The sources have also said that, as the election dates are getting closer the distribution of freebies is increasing and the department will be keeping the strict watch on the same. Although, how they are going to tackle the situation in the villages of Goa where the cash is being distributed in the broad daylight has not yet ascertained. The game of Chor-Police will go on till the 4th of February and only the final vote counting which is scheduled to be taken place on 11th March will decide the destiny of everybody.