A 24x7 control room has been established where citizens, whose identity will be kept secret, can report any movement of cash or valuables, likely or suspected to be used for electoral purposes.
The Income Tax Department, in a serious bid, to curb the use of black money, especially through the movement of unaccounted cash of Rs 10 lakh plus and valuables during the ongoing Lok Sabha election campaigning, has put in place a three-tier system for six constituencies in Greater Mumbai. A nodal officer will be connected with the Election Commission while the expenditure nodal officer and six sub-nodal officers of the rank of additional directors and below that there will be Deputy Directors and inspectors will be under the direct supervision of Director General (Investigation).
Furthermore, for swift and quick response to any intelligence and actionable information received, six Quick Response Teams (QRTs) have been appointed in different parts of the city. A 24x7 control room has been established where citizens, whose identity will be kept secret, can report any movement of cash or valuables, likely or suspected to be used for electoral purposes.
The Income Tax director general (Investigation) KK Vyawahare said that the department will fulfil its mandate given by the Election Commission to gather intelligence and keep strict watch over the movement of cash and valuables in the constituency and take necessary action under IT Laws for ensuring free and fair elections. ''Contribution by the residents would further help the process of gathering actionable information and help curb the use of unlawful means of influencing elections in six constituencies,'' he noted.
Vyawahare said currently a team of 200 officers and personnel have been deployed and the number is expected to increase after March 31 once the campaigning gathers momentum. He informed that after the receipt of credible information the I-T Department is expected to complete action in six to seven hours.
''Air Intelligence units have been set up at domestic and international airports, at Vakola, Santacruz, and Juhu to keep a strict vigil over any movement of cash. The I-T Department is also closely coordinating with other state and central agencies to gather actionable information and take necessary steps to ensure smooth elections,'' Vyawahare said.
Vyawahare recalled that the IT department had received about 100 to 125 calls from six constituencies in Greater Mumbai during 2014 Lok Sabha elections but there was no seizure for want of potent and credible information.
''However, before the announcement of Lok Sabha election schedule, the IT department in Pune had seized cash of Rs 3.5 crore which was to be moved from the cooperative bank. So enough vigil is kept on cooperative banks, hawala and cash handlers and necessary action is taken,'' he said.