New Delhi: Poll affidavits of top two vote gaining candidates will be scrutinised by CBDT for their tax statements and liabilities as part of multi-pronged approach to curb blackmoney instances in the poll process.
The chief of income tax department’s investigation wing and Central Board of Direct Taxes Member K V Chowdary today said the department will deploy some diligent mechanism to scrutinise the affidavits of candidates as it was “not practical” to go through the statements of each and every candidate.
Chowdary, along with CBDT Chairman R K Tewari, said they have devised a number of methods of picking up suspicious cases, like scrutiny of the top two vote gaining candidates in a constituency post the announcement of results, under a mechanism created in tandem with the Election Commission.
“It is not possible to assess each and every affidavit by the I-T department…given the number of candidates fighting the polls across the constituencies. However, we have devised an agreed procedure with the EC that we will priortise those cases which are referred to us by the poll body or we may take up the affidavits of the top two candidates in a seat post the results are out,” Chowdary told reporters here.
However, the CBDT member said, this is one of the many methods that is being deployed by the agency to pick up affidavits for I-T scrutiny. The I-T department, sources said, will also compare the affidavits of the candidates with their I-T returns, check abnormal increase in a candidates income as compared to the last time and existence of assets on ground amongst a host of other such methods.
“We will also initiate action in those cases where there is a prima facie evidence that the candidate has furnished wrong details,” Chowdary said. The top I-T official also said that as the affidavits, at present, are uploaded by various state commissions and the central poll body in a scanned format it was “cumbersome” for the taxman to scrutinise each and every one of them.
“But we have many mechanisms to detect potential cases of wrong information of assets on the affidavits,” Chowdary said, stating that the I-T investigation and intelligence wing have the mandate to pick up such cases through the resources at their disposal.
The officials said the EC has now asked all state Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) to compile these affidavits in an electronic ‘data sheet’ format which will better enable the I-T authorities to scrutinise these statements which essentially talk about a candidate’s liabilities and assets.
The EC has roped in the I-T department for this exercise in order to verify the claims of possession of assets and cash with candidates and this measure is part of the Commission’s drive to combat blackmoney instances during elections.
The CBDT officers, however, refused to comment on the status of investigation of the affidavits filed by candidates during the 2009 general election and subsequent assembly elections in various states saying the matter was between the EC and the CBDT and hence this was “confidential”.
The CBDT has also deputed 375 IRS (Income Tax) officers as ‘Expenditure Observers’ to various constituencies under the command of the EC.