I-T department concerned over high sale of electoral bonds before Assembly polls


Mumbai: The Income Tax (I-T) department has taken a serious note of the high sale of electoral bonds in the financial capital prior to the elections in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. As many as 1,795 small and large denomination bonds have been sold in the fifth tranche of electoral bonds sale between October 1 and October 10 at the State Bank of India (SBI) branch, Mumbai.

The department is not authorised to demand from banks details of the bearer instrument used to fund eligible political parties. But it will wait for the anomalies to be thrown up or reflect at its Income Tax Transaction Analysis Centre and the Compliance Management Centralised Processing Centre launched as part of Project Insight, sources in the department said.

The project was recently launched to promote voluntary compliance and deter non-compliance, and promote fair and judicious tax administration.

“We have taken note of the high amount of sale in Mumbai and keeping a watch on it through Project Insight, especially when the Income Tax Returns (ITRs) are filed. We hope the anomalies in the individual/company ITR not reflecting the purchase of bonds would be thrown up when passed through the system,” a senior official of the I-T (investigation wing), Mumbai, said.

As per SBI data, a majority of the bonds sold in Mumbai in the fifth tranche were of large denominations with 896 being of ₹10 lakh denomination and 782 of ₹1 crore denomination. The bonds are issued in the denomination of ₹1,000, ₹10,000, ₹1,00,000, ₹10,00,000, and ₹1,00,00,000. They can be bought by an individual, Hindu Undivided Family, company, firm or an association of persons or a body of individuals from 29 authorised SBI branches across the country.

The four previous tranche sales took place between March 1-10, April 2-10, May 1-10, and July 2-11, during which the purchased bonds were valid for 15 days from the date of issue. I-T officials said it is a positive sign the majority sale in the fifth tranche was of higher denomination. “We would have been concerned if the sale of smaller denomination bonds ₹1,000, ₹10,000 had been on the higher side,” an official said.

The electoral bonds are allowed to be redeemed only by an eligible political party by depositing the same in their designated bank account maintained with an authorised bank.

To purchase the bonds, the buyer should submit Aadhaar with current address and permanent account number or form number 60 as defined in the Income Tax Rules, 1962, the official said.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 2:00:05 PM |

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