THE INVESTIGATION wing of the Income Tax (I-T) department in Mumbai is keeping a close watch on hawala operators or cash handlers, co-operative banks and state credit co-operative societies among others, to check movement of cash and other valuables in the six constituencies in the city that can be used to induce voters, said Kishore Vyawahare, Director General of Income Tax (DGIT), Mumbai, on Monday.
“We are also trying to get information from various sources in terms of hawala channels, cash handlers and businesses, which are likely to generate cash. Further, we are trying to keep a track of it at our end,” Vyawahare added. “We are keeping a watch on state cooperative banks and credit co-operative societies considering the past data that we have,” he said. Click here for more election news
The department has set up a 24×7 control room to receive credible actionable information from the general public on the illegal use of cash and other valuables to induce voters. It has also stationed a quick response team (QRT) in each of the six constituencies in Mumbai, to take swift action under the tax laws, against actionable information received by it on the movement of cash of over Rs 10 lakh. The Air Intelligence Unit of the tax authority has been stationed at all air bases in Mumbai to keep a strict vigil over any movement of cash, said Vyawahare.
The department said that it has engaged at least 200 tax officials for this work and is also coordinating with other state and central agencies to gather intelligence on cash movement before elections are held in the city on April 29.
“We have devised a standard operating procedure to take action on information received by us on movement of cash and valuables. In 2014, before the Lok Sabha elections, we had received over 125 phone calls at the control room. However, we were not able to seize much cash. We are hoping that this time, we will get credible actionable information from the public,” said Vyawahare.
“So far, we have received a couple of calls through the control room, but we are expecting much more information once the political parties firm up their candidates,” he added.