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CBDT cracks down on use of unaccounted money in polls
April, 11th 2011

All airports, major hotels, railway stations, financial brokers and hawala operators in the five states where Assembly polls are being conducted, are under the vigil of the Income Tax Department.

The exercise is part of the Election Commissions drive to check black money from being used in the elections.

A senior I-T official told Business Standard the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) was assisting the election watchdog in unearthing and seizure of unaccounted money.

He said suspicious cash withdrawal from banks were also being monitored, adding the department was also verifying the assets declared in affidavits by candidates and a detailed report would be made available to the Election Commission.

The official said special teams for I-T investigations were handling the operations and monitoring at the state level, while CBDT was keeping a close look on the whole exercise from Delhi.

CBDT Chairman Sudhir Chandra had himself visited Assam and Tamil Nadu to get a first-hand account of the drive against use of black money in elections, said the official.

The Commission had held a high-level meeting, attended by the CBDT chairman, on February 9, to oversee the measures taken by CBDT to control the use of money power in Assembly elections in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

The Election Commissions crackdown on unaccounted money used in the polls in these states has already yielded encouraging results, especially in Tamil Nadu. The I-T department has seized Rs 52 crore of unaccounted money in the five states, with Tamil Nadu alone contributing Rs 48 crore to this amount.

The I-T official said flying squads were acting on specific information provided by local-level district officials and this had resulted in seizure of substantial cash and detection of unaccounted money.

He added the places from where substantial cash had been seized in Tamil Nadu included Goodalur, Salem, Dharampuri, Madurai, Chennai.

After I-T searches in a case in Chennai, two persons involved in the real estate business disclosed around Rs 6.5 crore. Enquiry was conducted after the flying squad received information about the car in which these two were to be found in possession of Rs 15.60 lakh. It was found that the two were generating a lot of unaccounted cash in their business, said the official.

Similarly, with the help of information provided by a district official in Salem, the department unearthed over Rs 1 crore from a rice mill owner.

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