I-T dept to keep close watch on social media to check poll expense
The Income Tax department is keeping a close watch on social media to check any violation of election expenditure limit in poll-bound Punjab, even as it seized Rs 4.50 crore unaccounted cash post notification of the model code of conduct.
“The department is monitoring and analysing the social media like Facebook of important people (in Punjab elections),” Parneet Sachdev, Principal Director, Income Tax department of Investigation Wing told reporters here on Tuesday.
Several candidates in the state are using social media to post pictures and videos of their election campaigns ahead of the February 4 assembly elections. The department has also deployed informers in the fields in the state to get an actionable intelligence to check misuse of black money in the elections.
“We are keeping important persons under surveillance. We have own ways of looking at the persons to check black money.
We have got set of informers, they tell us. Even people give us good information through helpline,” said Sachdev. As part of the department’s mandate to check misuse of money during polls, it has seized unaccounted cash to the tune of Rs 10 crore in Punjab post demonetisation.
“We intercepted Rs 10 crore of cash which was being transported and for which there was no explanation. Out of Rs 10 crore, Rs 4.50 crore of cash was seized after the notification of the model code of conduct on January 4 for Punjab assembly polls,” Director General of Income Tax (Investigation Wing), Madhu Mahajan said.
When asked whether the unexplained cash belonged to any political party or candidate, she said an inquiry was on. “As you know they (from whom cash seized) are cash mules and refuse to say anything but inquiry is going on,” she said.
Stating that the department was working closely with law enforcement agencies including police to check black money flow, Mahajan said that much before the notification of the code of conduct, the department had put in place measures to check movement of unaccounted cash during the polls.
“The work of checking black money during polls started almost one and half months before the notification of code of conduct,” she said, adding the department has also set up air intelligence units at Ludhiana, Mohali and Amritsar airports.