New Delhi: The Election Commission has
rolled out fresh guidelines for monitoring poll funding during
upcoming elections in five states, including Uttar Pradesh,
and has roped in the I-T department and Financial Intelligence
Unit to check suspicious transactions.
Even as the dates and schedule for the next year`s
Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh,
Uttarakhand and Manipur have not been announced, the
directives to create a database of doubtful transactions and
dubious movement of cash were recently issued by the EC to the
Chief Electoral Officers of these states.
"The EC guidelines on election expenditure monitoring for
the forthcoming polls have been operationalised," a senior
official privy to the development said.
The EC, for the first time, has asked the elite Financial
Intelligence Unit (FIU), functioning under Finance Ministry,
to sift through their records for any instance of information
about the assets and liabilities of candidates participating
in the polls.
The FIU receives regular Suspicious Transaction Reports
(STRs) and Cash Transaction Reports (CTRs) from banks,
insurance companies and intermediaries as per regulations
stipulated under anti-money laundering laws.
"The FIU may extend necessary cooperation to the Income
Tax department in specific cases in sending information on
suspicious transaction reports and about withdrawal of cash
exceeding specified limits from any bank account maintained
within the respective states going for polls.
"Besides, the I-T (investigation) and FIU will download
from EC website the copies of affidavits declaring assets and
liabilities by the candidates. The FIU will also verify the
information available with them pertaining to the candidates
and send the report to the Director General of Income Tax
(investigation) of the state through the Central Board of
Direct Taxes," the EC said.
The I-T investigation wing will also verify information
available with the department and in cases where any
suppression of information about assets or liability or
pending dues is noticed, the report should be sent to the
Commission, the EC said.
The EC had created an exclusive Election Expenditure
Monitoring (EEM) cell within its establishment last year
headed by a senior Indian Revenue Service officer.
The EEM further deployed huge strength of I-T and
Customs sleuths of investigation wings across the country for
keeping a track on poll funding.
The EC, in its latest guidelines, has asked the I-T
department to establish Air Intelligence Units (AIUs) at all
the airports in these poll-bound states and equip them with
CCTV cameras which will record all operations related to cash
seizure during elections.
"If any cash exceeding Rs 10 lakh is found in the
airport, the I-T department shall take steps to seize the
amount under I-T laws and the entire operation from detection
till seizure/release at airports, airstrips is to be captured
by CCTV video camera," the EC said.
The recordings of the CCTV are to be preserved by the
authority and will have be made available to the EC, whenever