Amidst the ongoing Lok Sabha elections the Directorate of Income Tax (Investigation), North East Region (NER) has made a record-breaking seizure of Rs 8 crore, which is the highest seizure made during general elections in the North East.
According to the Income Tax department, cash to the tune of Rs 1.21 crore was seized during Election Expenditure Monitoring for 2014 elections.
“Directorate of Income Tax Investigation, NER has exceeded all previous records of cash seizures made during general elections in the North East. For the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, the last polling date in north-east is April 23. The Directorate has made cash seizure exceeding Rs 8 crores till April 22, which is nearly 7 times the previous haul. This amount compares favourably even with many other jurisdictions, which have much higher tax revenue base than North East”.
This confiscation was possible because while preparing for the elections the expenditure sensitive locations were timely pinpointed in consultation with state authorities and police, said Principal Director of Income Tax Investigation for NER, Sanjay Bahadur.
The department further informed that “The limited manpower of about 150 officials was strategically deployed to set up an extensive network of surveillance units to cover 112 districts and in 12 Air Intelligence Units (AIUs) for interception of unexplained cash.”
It said further that the Special Task Force which was constituted on April 22 and jointly headed by Subhrajyoti Bhattacharjee, Additional Director and Nodal Officer and Mrinal Das, Joint Director heading AIUs, was given the responsibility of investigating suspicious high-value cash deposits and withdrawals in 68 banks operating in North East.
The Special Task Force will submit the results of its preliminary investigations within one month. After that strict consequential action, as per tax laws, will be initiated wherever unexplained cash deposits are found.
Usually, such illegal transactions and relocation of cash become rampant in every election season. Recently, a huge cache of cash was gutted in fire after a truck carrying the notes caught fire in South Kashmir. Since this cash was discovered during the poll season, the main focal point of the investigation would be whether the cash was meant to be used during the poll campaigning and which party or candidate did it belong to.
Similarly, the IT department in Karnataka had, recently, recovered Rs 2.3 crore in cash from the spare tyre of a vehicle.
Throwing light on the shocking details about the extent of illicit money being circulated during the Lok Sabha elections, the Election Commission of India had released data, according to which the IT sleuths had seized cash and contraband amounting to over Rs 2,600 crores until April 17 of this year. This comes as a shocker, considering only two phases of 2019 Lok Sabha elections have concluded so far and the amount seized until now is already almost double of that seized during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.