Mumbai, April 9 (IANS) The Election Commission’s flying squad and the Maharashtra Congress jointly raided an alleged illegal factory engaged in manufacturing electronic propaganda material for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), an official said here on Tuesday.
Following a tip-off, the raid was carried out in the registered office premises belonging to the United Phosphorus Ltd (UPL), in Khar here this afternoon, where hundreds of thousands of propaganda materials were being produced without the EC permission.
The EC flying squad has seized electronic cards and other materials worth over Rs 6 crore, said Congress state general secretary Sachin Sawant.
“This is a completely unauthorised centre being operated on the sly by the BJP to prepare its electronic propaganda pamphlets, each worth around Rs 300,” Sawant said.
The flying squad also found pictures of defence aircraft, Army, Air Force, surgical strikes and recorded clips of voice messages of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speeches appealing people to vote for the BJP, besides some other stuff.
“The EC has already made it clear that the armed forces cannot be used for election purposes. Here, the BJP itself is engaged in making lakhs of these electronic pamphlets for distribution without the EC clearance. It’s obvious these won’t be accounted for in the poll expenses to be submitted to EC,” Sawant told IANS from the raid site.
The electronic pamphlets have special chips with a message — in this case, Modi’s poll appeal — which was played when the pamphlet is opened, and small children were being paid hefty sums daily to stick the chips on the pamphlets.
The Congress has demanded strict action against the UPL authorities for allowing their premises to be used for such illegal election-related activities and against BJP President Amit Shah for allegedly complicity in the matter.
Meanwhile, the EC has also lodged a police complaint in the matter with Khar police which has taken cognisance, prepared a panchnama and launched further investigations.
Sawant said it is not clear since when this illegal factory has been operating, how many such electronic pamphlets may have already been produced and despatched for distribution among the voters which the EC and police must investigate on priority.
The Congress also demanded that the EC probe if any other such illegal factories are operating elsewhere in Mumbai or Maharashtra and carry out similar “surgical strikes” in public interest.