Bengaluru, May 10 (IANS) A total of Rs 31.5 crore unaccounted cash and gold jewellery worth Rs 5.83 crore were seized by the Income Tax department in Karnataka since the state assembly election was announced on March 27, said an official on Thursday.
“Since the Model Code of Conduct came into force on March 27 after the Election Commission announced the May 12 assembly election, the department has seized Rs 31.5 crore unaccounted cash and Rs 5.83-crore worth jewellery,” said Income Tax Joint Commissioner G. Ramesh in a statement here.
Noting that the illegal amount seized during the last six weeks was six-fold more than made in the May 2013 assembly elections, he said the seizures were likely to go up by the voting day on Saturday.
“In the present election, we were able to unearth incriminating evidence of misuse of money power from raising unaccounted funds to the distribution of cash and freebies by the contesting candidates,” said Ramesh.
The department’s investigation wing had shared the evidence with the Election Commission, the state’s Chief Electoral Officer) and district election officers for action under the Representation of People’s Act, 1951.
“The raids are carried as per rules and after ensuring that a particular search was required. The proceedings cover the entire political spectrum and are conducted impartially, respecting the privacy of the searched person in the presence of witnesses,” said Ramesh.
The department has been keeping a watch on cash transactions, including bank transfers, contract payments and deals by realtors and non-banking finance companies during the monitoring period.
“Our intelligence at airports, railway stations and bus terminals has been strengthened and is functioning in coordination with other law enforcement agencies,” the IT Department pointed out the statement.
Affidavits of candidates submitted with nominations are verified with their income tax returns and that of their family members.