To check illegal spending in the upcoming assembly elections in five states, the Election Commission (EC) has asked Income Tax department to report to it all instances of cash movement through airports.
The EC has asked the I-T department to establish Air Intelligence Units (AIUs) at all major airports in the poll-bound states of Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa while similar units at major airports like Delhi and Mumbai have been asked to keep a strict vigil on cash movement to these states.
“The EC has asked us to report to them all cash movement, even if it is legal and accounted. The cash can be let off if it is legal but it is mandatory to report the incident. The AIUs have hence been asked to keep a close eye on cash going to poll bound states,” a senior I-T officer said.
Similar instructions have also been issued to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) which guards the airports.
The I-T department, according to sources, has been asked to install CCTV cameras at the AIUs in order to record the entire activity of interception to release or seizure of the cash at the airports.
The EC has recently met the top brass of the I-T department of these poll bound states and senior officials of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to put in place this mechanism, the official said.
The EC has asked for report on all cash movement after learning from an incident during polls in West Bengal when an MP carried a huge amount of cash through the IGIA airport but the I-T department did not report the incident to it as the money was accounted for.
The EC had then asked the I-T department to transfer an official from its Delhi AIU to another wing.
To execute these measures, the EC had last year created an exclusive Election Expenditure Monitoring (EEM) cell in its establishment for checking poll funding and instances of black money in elections.
Keywords: illegal spending. Assmbly polls