The Principal Director of Income Tax, Sanjay Bahadur on Wednesday informed that seizures of Rs. 1.96 crores cash in various interceptions, including at airports, have been made in North East since election announcement.
Addressing the media, Sanjay Bahadur said that, “Since the date of notification of General Elections, 2019, over 150 officials have been deployed across North East to monitor 112 districts and 12 airports.” He highlighted the importance of expenditure monitoring during the ongoing election process.
Election Commission of India has requisitioned services of Directorate of Income Tax (Investigation) North East Region under article 324 of Constitution of India for effective election expenditure monitoring, “to curb the use of black money in elections”.
The Directorate is coordinating with State CEOs, DEOs, police and other law enforcement agencies in the region on daily basis. In this regard, Bahadur said, “Directorate’s independent intelligence gathering initiative has thrown up an alarming fact that huge amounts of suspicious cash has been deposited in banks, including rural and cooperative banks in the weeks preceding announcement of elections. Similarly, huge amounts of suspicious cash withdrawals have been made. These transactions have so far gone below the radar of routine process of election expenditure monitoring and ground level intelligence indicates it is highly possible that substantial part of this cash flow is being misused for vitiating free and fair elections.”
Elaborating the process, Bahadur further added, “ECI has directed Income Tax Investigation Directorates to use all resources at their command to make expenditure monitoring effective. Therefore, in absence of required inputs from designated authorities so far, several important steps have been taken independently by this Directorate. Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) of India, RBI and major banks operating in North East have been asked to supply digital data relating to cash deposits and withdrawals above Rs. 10 lakh. This data is being received in batches since past one week and is being analyzed. We have requested for real-time reports for the election period for prompt action.”
The Principal Director of Income tax pointed out, “The initial sample data received for few days preceding 31.03.2019 has confirmed the apprehension of our investigating officers that banks are being possibly used as safe conduits to hide and move suspicious cash. The data so far procured is limited to about only 10 days of transactions supplied by just 5 major banks of the region. Even from this small sample, hundreds of suspicious cash deposits/withdrawals in banks for amounts more than Rs. 10 lakh have been discovered and are under scanner. Inquiries have already been initiated in about 200 cases so far.”
“The magnitude and frequency of such transactions is a matter of grave concern and the Directorate is gearing up for massive exercise of investigation in days to come as data from over 100 banks across North East is expected to be received. As of April 2, 2019, seizures of Rs. 1.96 crores cash in various interceptions, including at airports, have been made in North East under Income Tax Act since election announcement”, he further added.
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