Rs 70 lakh cash seized by IT dept in HP elections; largest cash seizure from Solan

Scrutiny of affidavits of all 337 candidates begins

Dozens of complaints received within 48 hrs on helpline number

Sharat Verma, The Hush Post

Ludhiana: Even as polling started in Himachal Pradesh this morning, the focus of the Income Tax department has shifted to something as significantly serious; scrutiny of affidavits of all the 337 candidates for any financial mismatch.

The Investigation Wing of the Income Tax department, Chandigarh has seized unaccounted cash amounting to Rs 70 lakh ever since the code of conduct came into effect in Himachal Pradesh.

Most of the unaccounted cash has been seized from Solan, Kangra and Kullu. The single largest cash seizure of Rs 15 lakh was intercepted from Solan. Surprisingly, no significant movement of cash has been reported in Shimla. However, it is under investigation whether the entire Rs 70 lakh seized was meant for the elections. Watch on movement of cash will remain till the election results are announced. A team of more than a dozen Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers has been appointed by the Investigation Wing as the expenditure observers in the state to closely monitor the expenditure done by the candidates.

Sources in the department say, a significant number of complaints for misuse of cash in elections have been reported on 24 hour helpline which is a toll free number 18001808089.

For the verification of complaints, the department has set up an operating control room in Shimla where IT officers are on standby. Apart from this, Air Intelligence Units (AIU) of the investigation wing are also active at the three airports of the state to screen passengers.

The process of verification of the affidavits of candidates is in a preliminary stage. The department has already downloaded the affidavits of all the candidates for scrutiny. If any falsehood is found in the disclosure of information, he will be summoned by the Investigation Wing.