Karnataka: A dirty election where ‘money power’ peaked like never before
The Karnataka election has been a hard fought and also a dirty one. While personal attacks were carried out unabated, the election also saw a huge amount of cash flow. In the past two months, huge amounts of cash was withdrawn from ATMs not just in Karnataka, but also in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. This could have led to the temporary cash crunch, officials say.
The Income Tax Department was probably the busiest during the elections. On announcement of the election schedule, the department established its Investigation offices in all 30 districts of Karnataka, by drawing officers and staff from Investigation Directorate and field formation and also from Goa State. This is the first such exercise, the department said.
Apart from gathering intelligence from its own sources, the department opened a 24x7 control room with dedicated teams to process the information received in a professional manner. The Department has been keeping a close watch on cash transactions including bank transfers, contract payments, real estate transactions and NBFC transactions during the monitoring period. It has strengthened intelligence in Airports, Public Transport and is functioning in close coordination with other law enforcement agencies. The affidavits filed by the contesting candidates are also being verified with the returns of income filed by the contesting candidates and their family members.
From the beginning of the Code of Conduct period on 27.03.2018 to till date, the department has seized unaccounted cash of @Rs. 31.50 Crores and unexplained jewellery worth Rs. 5.83 Crores. This is nearly 6 times the seizure made by the Department in the last State Assembly election in 2013. The seizures are likely to further go up in the last days of electioneering, the department said in a release.
In the present Assembly elections,the Income tax department has been able to unearth incriminating evidence of the entire process of misuse of money power right from raising unaccounted funds to the distribution of cash and freebies by the contesting candidates. This has been shared with the Election Commission of India, District Election Officers and CEO Karnataka for necessary action under the Representation of People Act.
The Department proceedings cover the entire length of political spectrum and are conducted in professional and impartial manner. The searches have been carried in strict adherence to the rules and regulations and only after ensuring that reasonable grounds exist to believe that a particular search is required. The proceedings are carried out respecting the privacy of searched person, in the presence of independent witnesses and with a preparation of detailed panchnama of the entire process, the department also said.
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The Investigation Directorate will actively carry the expenditure monitoring till the completion of election code of conduct of the present election. Citizens are requested to share genuine information in their possession with the Control Room established centrally in Bangalore in the state of Karnataka.
The contact details are again reproduced below:-
Toll free No. - 1800 425 2115
Land Line - 080 22861126
Mobile No. 1 - +918277422825
Mobile No. 2 - +918277413614
Fax No. - 080 22866916
|Karnataka Assembly Election dates|
|Date of notification||April 17|
|Last date to file nominations||April 24|
|Last date to withdraw nominations||April 27|
|Date of polling||May 12|
|Date of counting||May 15|