Record cash seizure in NE during LS polls, STF set up

Guwahati, Apr 22 (IANS) | Publish Date: 4/22/2019 12:26:06 PM IST

The seizure of illegal cash in northeast Indian states has broken all records and the Directorate of Income Tax has set up a Special Task Force (STF) to probe suspicious high value cash deposits and withdrawals in 68 banks in the region, officials said on Monday.

While the Income Tax directorate had seized illegal cash amounting to Rs 1.21 crore during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the department has so far seized Rs 8 crore unexplained cash from the eight states of the region in these polls.

“The Directorate has made cash seizure exceeding Rs 8 crore till April 22 this year, 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 the northeast,” an official said.

Principal Director, Income Tax Investigation for North East Region (NER), Sanjay Bahadur attributed this phenomenal outcome to timely preparation for the polls and identification of expenditure-sensitive locations in consultation with state authorities and police and to gathering of ground intelligence by Directorate investigators.

“The limited manpower of about 150 officials was strategically deployed to set up an extensive network of surveillance units to cover 112 districts and 12 Air Intelligence Units (AIUs) for interception of unexplained cash,” he said while praising active cooperation extended by CEOs, state police, the CISF, Assam Rifles, the CRPF, the BSF and banks in this intense effort to throttle the use of money power during the election process.

He said that the Special Task Force will be headed jointly by Subhrajyoti Bhattacharjee, Additional Director & Nodal Officer and Mrinal Das, Joint Director heading Air Intelligence Unit (AIUs), and will investigate thousands of suspicious high value cash deposits and withdrawals in 68 banks in the region.

The STF will submit its preliminary findings within one month and strict consequential action, as per tax laws, will be initiated wherever unexplained cash deposits are found. The Directorate is being assisted by Financial Intelligence Unit in this exercise, aimed at striking at the sources and conduits of cash flow during and immediately preceding elections in a decisive manner.

It will also scrutinise affidavits of all candidates filed before Election Commission for any suppression of declared assets or liability and submit a report to the poll panel.

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