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I-T sleuths seize `2.09 cr unaccounted cash ahead of polls



Income tax (I-T) officials on Wednesday said that around Rs 2.09 crore of unaccounted cash has been seized by them in the state in run-up to the elections.

The cash seizure is related to numerous raids conducted since March 10 when the election code of conduct came into force, said sources in the income tax department in the state.

The seized money includes around Rs 25 lakh of undisclosed cash unearthed by sleuths at the Dabolim airport by the air intelligence unit of the department.

Tax sleuths have been conducting raids on matka operators, hawala dealers, IPL betting rackets and illegal money lenders these days as a part of election surveillance.

A senior source said that officials are presently profiling persons involved in illegal transactions since they are most commonly used as conduit to circulate illegal cash. He added that the seized cash as yet has not been traced to a particular political party but the possibility cannot be ruled out.

Even as polling will be held in the state on April 23, the income tax department is monitoring all suspicious

cash transactions. Additional officials have been deployed to keep a watch on the flow of black money into the state. The police and state authorities have been asked to report suspicious cash transactions to the department.

Officials are on the lookout for movement of large sums. Further, the department has also asked banks to pass on information about withdrawals of over Rs 10 lakh.

Cash and liquor are typical lures used by candidates to bribe voters and influence the electorate.

Meanwhile, no seizure of consumer goods has been reported till date. The commercial taxes department has given a clean chit to dealers in the state for poll-related offences but said that Rs 25 lakh has been collected in fines as a by-product of election surveillance.

State commissioner of commercial tax and GST Deepak Bandekar said that interceptor cars of the department stopped several vehicles transporting goods. “In no case, the goods were found to be used to influence voters but fines were imposed on the dealers since the goods lacked proper documents.”

According to Bandekar, dealers who are caught transporting goods without proper papers are mostly found to be evading GST. “No goods are taken into custody by us but fines are levied on tax evaders,” he said.

Officials of the commercial tax department had recently raided a garment shop in Panaji on reports that the shop owner was distributing T-shirts for election purpose. However, tax inspectors found the report to be untrue but discovered the garment shop owner to be a GST evader.

Similarly, a truck carrying water tanks was intercepted, as the driver did not have papers. “The owner transporting the goods had not paid GST and fine was levied on him,” said Bandekar. He said that election monitoring so far has not yielded any goods used by political parties to influence voters.

Towards election monitoring, the commercial taxes department has asked dealers of household appliances in the state to report any unusual sale of goods. Dealers have been asked to keep daily account of sales of goods such as refrigerators, TVs, mobiles, sewing machines, electrical appliances, washing machines, pressure cookers, etc and report the same to the sub-office of the commercial tax department in each taluka.

The measure is targeted at 27,000-odd dealers in the state including automobile dealers. Sales of all items costing above Rs 5,000 have to be reported daily by dealers to the commercial tax department.




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