Income Tax Seized ₹1,100 Crore In 45 Days Of Lok Sabha Election

Income Tax Seized ₹1,100 Crore In 45 Days Of Lok Sabha Election

The ECI team, along with local police, also intensified checks of vehicles on the road and inspections of political party offices.

Dharmesh ThakkarUpdated: Saturday, June 01, 2024, 02:21 AM IST
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Income tax department | File Photo

The Income Tax (IT) department seized a record ₹1,100 crore of cash and jewellery during the Lok Sabha elections 2024, marking a sharp 182 per cent increase compared to the ₹390 crore confiscated during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The taxmen made ₹1,100 crore in cash and jewellery seizures in 45 days since the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) was enforced by the Election Commission of India (ECI).

The election watchdog had tasked central agencies to monitor the movement of cash, liquor, freebies, drugs, jewellery, and other items that could influence voters or candidates and established 24x7 control rooms in each state for an effective crackdown against the illegal movement of cash and other items that may be used to taint the electoral process.

The IT department had set up control rooms in all major cities and towns for reporting illegal cash used for election campaigns and influencing voters.

"The Income Tax Department has been vigilant in monitoring and seizing unaccounted cash and valuables that could potentially influence voters in the seven-phase elections. Each state established 24x7 control rooms to check the illegal movement of cash that could be used in elections by politicians," said a senior tax official.

According to the Income Tax department, Delhi and Karnataka topped the list for the highest seizures, with ₹200 crore worth of cash and jewellery seized from each state.

The southern state of Tamil Nadu followed with the second-highest seizure, amounting to ₹150 crore, while Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Odisha collectively comprised more than ₹100 crore worth of cash and jewellery.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) had declared the commencement of polls for the 2024 Lok Sabha Election and the MCC was enforced nationwide since March 16, with all central agencies put on high alert to ensure adherence to guidelines, focusing on monitoring the movement of cash, liquor, freebies, drugs, jewellery, and other items that could influence voters.

The MCC applies to all political parties and candidates, aiming to prevent unethical practices and promote ethical conduct.

The ECI team, along with local police, also intensified checks of vehicles on the road and inspections of political party offices. The ECI had mandated all individuals with cash over ₹50,000 or new items worth over ₹10,000 without supporting documents to be seized. “If the individual provided valid documents proving the items were unrelated to the elections, it was returned, but the seizure of cash over ₹10 lakh was forwarded to the Income Tax Department for further scrutiny,” said a state ECI official.

According to the ECI, a record seizure of over ₹4,650 crore was made during the 45 days of the model code of conduct, marking a sharp increase of over ₹3,475 crore seized during the entire Lok Sabha election in 2019, with a significant 45 per cent of the seizures consisting of drugs and narcotics.

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