The All India Gem & Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC) said its meeting with Indian Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra had resulted in the release of 149 kilograms of gold that had been seized by local authorities in the city of Coimbatore. The authorities had claimed the gold, which was being transported, violated the Election Commission’s code of conduct regulations.
Elections are now under way in many states of India and the Election Commission’s code of conduct prohibits the transportation and disbursement of large sums of money in election areas. The rule is aimed at preventing any undue influence on voters. Gold is viewed as a ready substitute for cash and there have been seizures of the precious metal from politicians and their supporters during past elections.
However, the Indian jewellery industry has claimed that the code of conduct is often used by local authorities as an excuse to illegally seize even legal shipments of gold and jewellery that have all the necessary paperwork. The GJC’s appeal to the Chief Election Commissioner was based on the fact that the 149 kilogram shipment was legal and was accompanied by the necessary documentation.
GJC Chairman Anantha Padmanabhan stated, “We along with the whole Jewellery Industry, would like to thank the honourable Election Commissioner for the proactive measure he has taken to release the seized gold. We are confident that there will be continued co-operation from the EC for the jewellery business if we operate within the regulatory framework of code of conduct.”
He added, “Jewellery making is a business where movement of jewellery is inevitable and it is a routine in our business that jewellery in its raw or finished form is shipped from one point to another. There has been uneasiness across the jewellery community after reported incidents of harassment and jewellery seizure.”