National » Kerala

Updated: February 24, 2014 12:48 IST

IT squads on black money trail

G. Anand
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To check use of unaccounted money in polls

The Income Tax Department will form special squads in all districts to check the possible use of unaccounted money for wooing voters in the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Official sources said the department had sought the names of tax enforcers with experience in field work and intelligence collection to form the squads.

The department would also set up a toll-free number to receive information from the public on election malpractices involving cash transactions, largesse or gifts.

An IT enforcer said the department had prepared a template for the squads. Overtly, the units would randomly check the baggage of passengers at airports, railway stations, and bus stands. Special air intelligence units would be posted at the Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, and Kozhikode airports.

The inspections would be non-intrusive and quick, to spare the travelling public of inconvenience. The squads would check railway parcel vans, vehicles of courier services, and cargo holds of buses conducting long-distance services to detect the movement of cash, jewels, gold, and high-value contraband, if any.

Covertly, IT enforcers would track suspicious bank transactions. They would collect intelligence on hawala networks and hoarders of foreign currency. Known IT defaulters would come under scrutiny.

So would, loan sharks and those who profited from unlawful activities, including river sand-mining, spirit smuggling, and gambling.

The department would help the Election Commission crosscheck the veracity of the statement of assets filed by candidates. IT auditors would also help election officers, if required, independently audit the campaign expenses incurred by the candidates and compare it with the expenditure log.

Officials from the Central Board of Customs and Central Excise and auditors from the Accountant General’s office would work in tandem with them.

The sources of money spent for campaigning through digital means would also come under the IT department’s scrutiny.

These would include the expenses incurred for making cell phone calls, sending text messages, creating websites, using the social media, internet, and media advertising for campaign purposes.

IT enforcers said they would look into the sources of money used for paying the bills of cell phone and internet service providers.

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