In a bid to curb generation of black money during the upcoming assembly polls in five states, the Election Commission today asked the Income Tax department to keep a check on suspicious movement of cash and hawala brokers.
At a high-level meeting Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi asked the I-T department to formulate an action plan to monitor ‘illegal cash’ flow during the upcoming polls in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
The EC also asked the I-T department to deploy the officers of its investigation units in all these states to keep a tab on election expenditure done by political parties and candidates and put airports, major hotels, railway stations, financial brokers and hawala operators under surveillance, sources said.
The EC also asked the department to verify the assets declared by the candidates and report back to the Commission’s expenditure cell established at its headquarters here.
Chaired by Quraishi, the meeting was attended by CBDT Chairman Sudhir Chandra besides two other Election Commissioners H S Brahma and V S Sampath and a host of senior officials of the Income Tax department and EC’s expenditure cell.
The EC had also recently held a meeting with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to discuss auditing standards for political parties.
“The Commission had asked the ICAI to apply uniform accounting and audit standards for the political parties and the ICAI has agreed to issue comprehensive instructions to their members for efficient auditing of theaccounts of the political parties,” they said.
The EC also expressed satisfaction over the performance of the officials of the IT department and its Air Intelligence Units (AIUs) which were deployed during the recently concluded elections Bihar.
The EC had last year activated an Election Expenditure Monitoring (EEM) cell at the headquarters here to curb the use of illegal money with a senior IRS (Income Tax) officer at the helm.
CEC Quraishi had recently made a strong pitch for providing tax benefits on donations only to those political parties, which prove their strength at the hustings, as exemptions on such funds have led to the birth of several new parties.
Observing that almost 75% to 80% of registered political parties have not participated in any elections for the last several years, the CEC said that although the Commission has power to register political parties, it does not have the power to de-register them.