IT sleuths to keep an eye on sensitive seats, bank branches





Income tax officials have been directed to keep an eye on sensitive Lok Sabha seats, especially sensitive bank branches, during the ensuing general elections.

The direction to the income tax officials came from Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman PC Mody during a meeting held on Wednesday through video conferencing.

This was the first meeting addressed by Mody after the Income Tax department set up 25 control rooms across the country, which will be working 24×7 to check the flow of unaccounted money during the General elections.”CBDT Chairman directed officers to be more vigilant and keep an eye on unaccounted money flow in sensitive seats,” said an official.

The official added that bank branches where illegal activities were reported have been flagged as sensitive and these will be on the radar of Income Tax department.

It was also highlighted during the meeting that tax officials will also scrutinise cash transaction of cooperative banks. During the demonetisation period, many cooperative banks were involved in converting black money into white.

A senior official who was part of the meeting told ANI, “We will also keep an eye on petrol pumps and Dhabas as during elections some candidates’ supporters use coupons to fill fuel in their cars/motorbikes instead of cash. Similarly, dhabas are provided coupons instead of cash for food, etc to supporters of candidates. Later candidates pay cash to these petrol pumps and Dhabas. But, this is not shown in the candidates’ expenditure.”

He added that apart from this, IT officials will keep an eye on cash handlers, Angadiyas, hawala operators, especially hawala operators in metropolitan cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and states like Gujarat. It is also suspected that big hawala operators might divert their funds to small cities during elections.

Another official told ANI that the shortage of staff in some states was also discussed in the meeting. States like Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh are facing shortage of staff. Therefore, it was decided to use GST staff. CBDT has requested Election Commission not to use IT officials in election duty so that IT officials can also focus on smaller cities. EC has agreed on CBDT request.

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