Indian tax authorities seize $30m in cash and gold ahead of elections
Published: Dec 29, 2021 09:15 PM
Indian tax officials have seized more than $30 million in cash and gold in raids on suspected tax evaders this week including a record haul of 1.94 billion rupees ($26 million) and 23 kilograms of gold ahead of assembly elections in five states.

The raids triggered a flurry of accusations from rival political parties over protection for tax evaders as they prepare to compete in the elections, including in the bellwether state of Uttar Pradesh.

The seizures also shone a spotlight on the hot political issue of undeclared "black money" in a country where millions of people scratch a living on a ­dollar or two a day. "This is the biggest ever seizure of cash," the finance ministry said in a statement.

Tax officials seized the 1.94 billion rupees and 23-kilogram wrapped in sacks in an underground storage facility on the premises of a manufacturer in the city of Kanpur, in Uttar Pradesh, who media has reported is linked to a political party.

Also seized was 600 kilograms of precious sandalwood oil, officials said.

Elections in India are often accompanied by floods of cash from businesses to political parties in the hope of winning influence and favors, analysts say. Parties, in turn, dole out cash to voters and their workers.