Concerned over “large sums” of money being transported through the air route to poll-bound States, the Election Commission has issued fresh guidelines to the Civil Aviation Ministry to “capture and preserve” CCTV footage of such interceptions made at airports.
The EC, after a recent meeting with the Civil Aviation Secretary and Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), also issued orders to install additional CCTV cameras in all commercial airports at sections where cash or gold is detected, counted or seized and also in the interrogation chambers of law enforcement agencies including the I-T Department.
According to sources, the EC has framed the new set of guidelines after two Rajya Sabha MPs were held in Patna while travelling with huge amount of money during last year’s Bihar Assembly polls, and recently MPs at IGI Airport here were also held doing the same in the event of Assembly elections in four States.
“Such recording of CCTV shall be preserved with the airport operator or authority and when required, be made available to the Election Commission or Chief Election Officer,” the EC’s new instructions to check illegal cash and black money in the electoral process said.
The EC also asked CISF personnel guarding counters at airports and local police to immediately inform the I-T department upon detecting any passengers carrying more than Rs 10 lakh cash or gold over one kg.
“The I-T department, on receipt of information, shall make necessary verification as per Income Tax laws and take necessary measures if no satisfactory explanation is given.
They shall also inform the EC and concerned Election Officer before the release of any cash or gold,” the EC said.
“The ATC shall inform the flight plan of all private aircraft helicopters landing in the poll bound States to the CEO, 24 hours in advance,” the EC further said.
While spelling out the Standard Operating Procedure in such cases, the Commission asked airport security to frisk all persons and baggage who board any kind of aircraft, including chartered jets.
“Reports are received that during the process of elections, large sum of cash or gold is being transported through chartered aircrafts, helicopters, passengers of commercial airlines to poll bound States. The EC is concerned about report of such incidents, which may disturb the level playing field during the elections,” the Commission said.