Elaborate arrangements in place for curbing the menace of ‘black money’ in Lok Sabha elections in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal

Movement of cash by air and rail is being monitored, round-the-clock operations rooms have been set up, teams of officials have been placed in each district of the three States

Updated - March 19, 2024 10:27 pm IST

Published - March 19, 2024 09:11 pm IST - CHANDIGARH

Photo used for representation purpose only.

Photo used for representation purpose only.

To curb the use of ‘black money’ across Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh in the upcoming parliamentary elections, the Income Tax Department has increased surveillance on activities that could unduly influence the election process.

The Directorate of Investigation of Income Tax Department, under the mandate of the Election Commission of India, has put in place elaborate arrangements for curbing the menace of black money in the elections.

An Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) has been made functional at the Chandigarh airport, and a vigil is being kept on the movement of cash by air. Chartered flights are also being closely monitored for cash movement, a statement from the directorate said. Similarly, movement of cash, etc., by the Indian Railways is also being monitored in co-ordination with the Railways authorities, it said.

Round-the-clock operation rooms have been set up at I-T office in the Union Territory of Chandigarh for the Punjab and Haryana States, and in Shimla for Himachal Pradesh. People can call on designated phone numbers at these rooms to furnish specific information relating to cash or other valuables suspected to be used for unduly influencing the election process. Teams of officials have also been placed in each district of the three States in order to act on the complaints relating to a particular district, the statement added.

Separately, in Punjab, 25 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed, with as many as 2,416 out of 24,433 polling stations identified as critical.

Punjab’s Chief Electoral Officer Sibin C. on Tuesday said that to prevent the misuse of muscle and money power, elaborate efforts have been undertaken in Punjab, where voting is slated for June 1. “Twenty-five companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed across the State and additional deployments would be made based on threat assessment. CCTV cameras have been installed at inter-State checkpoints, and flying squads equipped with necessary tools have been deployed at inter-district checkpoints,” Mr. Sibin said at a press conference here.

“Out of 24,433 polling stations in the State, 2,416 have been identified as critical till now, warranting additional security measures. CCTV installation and centralised monitoring will be implemented across all polling stations. Efforts will also focus on increasing voter turnout, particularly at around 12,000 polling stations where voter turnout was lower than the national and State averages in the Lok Sabha Elections 2019, so that the objective of ‘Is vaar 70 paar’ (this time, more than 70% polling percentage) can be achieved,” Mr. Sibin said.

He added that Punjab has a total of 2,12,71,246 voters till March 1, 2024.

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