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NEWS

Cash for votes? Rs 1.9 cr cash seized across NE ahead of polls

Hundreds of suspicious transactions in financial institutions, including rural and cooperative banks, detected across the region in the past few days

EastMojo News Bureau

Guwahati: At least Rs 1.96 crore in cash have been seized across the Northeast since the model code of conduct (MCC) came into effect on March 10.

The region is all set to go for Lok Sabha polls in a three-phase election starting April 11. Two states -- Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh -- are also going to hold elections simultaneously for their legislative assemblies.

The income-tax (I-T) department has also detected hundreds of suspicious transactions in financial institutions, including rural and cooperative banks, in the past few days across the Northeast and investigation has been launched into some 200 cases so far.

Addressing media persons in Guwahati, I-T principal director (investigation) Sanjay Bahadur said, “The magnitude and frequency of such transactions is a matter of grave concern and the directorate is gearing up for massive exercise of investigation in days to come as data from over 100 banks across Northeast is expected to be received.”

The data so far procured is limited to only about 10 days of transactions supplied by just five major banks of the region. “Even from this small sample, hundreds of suspicious cash deposits/ withdrawals in banks for amounts more than Rs 10 lakh have been discovered and are under scanner,” Bahadur said.

“By collating and triangulating internal intelligence reports, the modus operandi seems to be that cash is deposited in banks and may move undetected through banking channels or may stay dormant till required. At the appropriate moment, cash is withdrawn in installments and it evaporates in the system,” Bahadur said.

“As on 2 April, seizures of Rs 1.96 crore cash in various interceptions, including at airports, have been made in Northeast under the Income Tax Act since announcement of election dates,” he added.

The directorate is coordinating with the state CEOs, DEOs, police and other law enforcement agencies in the region on daily basis, he informed.