AHMEDABAD: The Income Tax department has deployed over 400 of its officers across Gujarat to keep a close watch on election expenditure and flow of black money during the Lok Sabha elections in the state, said officials here Wednesday.
Polling on all the 26 Lok Sabha seats in Gujarat will be held on April 23.
As instructed by the Election Commission (EC) to curb the use of black money during the elections, the I-T department in Gujarat has set up a control room at their state headquarters here and it will function round the clock, said Director General (Investigation), Amit Jain.
The department also released a toll-free number - 18002337444 - for the general public to share any information about suspicious cash transactions and movements, Jain told reporters.
"We have formed our teams in all the 33 districts. The complaints monitoring cell of our control room would transfer the information about cash movements to these teams, depending on the area specified in the information."
"In all, we have deployed 404 of our officers across Gujarat to monitor illegal use of cash during polls," said Jain.
Apart from Gujarat, the I-T department will also monitor cash flow in the adjoining Union Territories of Diu, Daman and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, he said.
"We have divided our operation in six different zones. We have also roped in police to keep a watch on cash movement."
"Our Air Intelligence Unit will be keeping a watch on all the airports of the state. District administrations will deploy their own teams to monitor cash movements," he said.
As per the EC guidelines, if surveillance teams deployed by the local district administration recover Rs 10 lakh in cash or above from a person, then I-T department must be called in to do verification of the source of the cash, said Jain.
"If the cash is below Rs 10 lakh then the district co-ordination committee, headed by the District Development Officer, can do verification from their own side without calling us.
"But, if its above Rs 10 lakh, then I-T must be informed to do verification," said Jain.
Cash will be seized if the holder fails to tender satisfactory explanation or evidences such as ATM withdrawal receipt, he said.
The senior officer clarified that the I-T department can seek explanation and proofs regarding the source even if the cash is less than Rs 10 lakh.
In the 2017 Assembly polls, unaccounted cash of Rs 1.39 crore and 27 kgs of gold were seized from different parts of the state, Jain said.