The Telegraph
Saturday , March 15 , 2014
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Election expenses under I-T scanner

Ranchi, March 14: Income tax authorities, which will be deploying an army of officers and inspectors to keep track of high-value transactions in the run-up to the general elections, have appealed to the people of the state to pass on information about candidates indulging in illegalities.

Ujjwal Chaudhary, director-general of income tax (investigation), Bihar and Jharkhand, said they would be deploying as many as 24 income tax officers (ITOs) and over 50 I-T inspectors for checking illegal inflow of money for use during the elections.

While Sanjay Kumar, director (investigation), would be the nodal officer for both Jharkhand and Bihar, a team under an ITO would keep an eye on each constituency. A 24x7 control room would also be set up at the I-T headquarters in Ranchi in close coordination with other agencies to ensure free and fair polls.

“ITOs will be deployed in their respective areas of posting as it is easier to gather intelligence at one’s own field of activity. But, information about illegal money changing hands to influence voters can be gathered when the public shares such information with us,” Choudhary said.

Those who want to share information can do so at 0651-2332408 or 0651-2332078 or 1800 345 6547 (toll free). The DG assured would-be whistle blowers that their identities would be protected. “It was on the basis of such information that we seized a huge amount of cash on the outskirts of Ranchi that led to the countermanding of Rajya Sabha polls in 2012,” he said, referring to the Rs 2.15 cash seized from a car linked to a candidate on the day of voting.

Income tax investigators would monitor high value bank transactions and keep an eye on Ranchi airport. “ Any passenger found carrying cash over Rs 10 lakh or gold weighting 1kg or more will be questioned about their source. Also, anyone carrying over Rs 50,000 cash should be prepared to disclose the source and reason for carrying the cash,” he said.

The IT authorities will monitor Ranchi airport with help from CISF. It is exploring similar opportunities in Jamshedpur’s Sonari aairport where a number of private jets are operated.

Choudhary said asset statements handed over by candidates would be assessed immediately for sudden increase or decrease in incomes.

“While we are doing our best to fine tune the system and improve the effectiveness of our vigil, we will depend a lot the on public as we alone cannot always gather intelligence,” he added.