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The Election Commission of India confiscated a record 46.5 billion rupees ($557 million) of illicit money and goods in the run up to voting, more than its haul over the whole of the 2019 elections.

The commission has vowed to crack down on black money used to bribe voters in the world’s biggest election, which kicks off on Friday. It’s set up police checkpoints across the country, searching cars for illicit cash, liquor, drugs and other goods.

The ECI seized 3.9 billion rupees in cash and 11.42 billion rupees worth of freebies in about 45 days, it said in a statement Monday. Five years ago, the commission’s total haul over the election cycle was 34.75 billion rupees, it said. 

Voting will take place in seven phases from April 19 until June 1, leaving around 45 more days during which the commission said it will conduct stringent checks across the country.

Once election dates are announced, a Model Code of Conduct kicks in to ensure there’s no vote bribing or corruption to influence voters. 

The commission uses checkposts on roads, guards water transport and checks surveillance on any non-scheduled flights or helicopters.

Earlier Monday, a helicopter belonging to Rahul Gandhi, a top leader of the main opposition Indian National Congress, was searched in Tamil Nadu, local media reported. Gandhi was on his way to his parliamentary constituency and the search was conducted after he landed.

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