Guwahati: Principal Director of Income Tax Sanjay Bahadur on Wednesday said that a total of Rs 3.76 crore has been seized in the northeastern states since the announcement of elections and inquiries have been initiated in 200 cases of suspicious cash deposits and withdrawals from the banks in the region.
Bahadur's statement came after the expenditure observers in Arunachal Pradesh in the early hours of Wednesday seized Rs 1.80 crore in Pasighat area of the hill state where Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a rally around 11.45 p.m on Wednesday.
Opposition Congress alleged that the money was seized from two vehicles used in the Chief Minister's carcade and that it was being taken to be distributed in the rally of the Prime Minister.
"Directorate of Income Tax's independent intelligence gathering initiative has thrown up an alarming fact that huge amounts of suspicious cash have been deposited in banks, including rural and cooperative banks, in the weeks preceding announcement of elections. Similarly, huge amounts of suspicious cash withdrawals have also been made.
"These transactions had so far gone below the radar of routine process of election expenditure monitoring, and ground level intelligence indicates it is highly possible that a substantial part of this cash flow is being misused for vitiating free and fair elections," he said.
"As per the direction of ECI, we have taken several important steps independently to get digital data relating to cash deposits and withdrawals above Rs 10 lakh. This data is being received in batches since past one week and is being analyzed.
"The initial sample data received for few days preceding 31.03.2019 has confirmed the apprehension of our investigating officers that banks are being possibly used as safe conduits to hide and move suspicious cash," he said, adding that the data so far procured is limited to about only 10 days of transactions supplied by just five major banks in the region.
He said that the Directorate is gearing up for massive exercise of investigation in the days to come as data from over 100 banks across North East is expected to be received.
Over 150 officials have been deployed across North East to monitor 112 districts and 12 airports by the Directorate of Income Tax.