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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Polls: IT dept will scan tax returns of winner, runner

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 25, 2014
First Published: 09:09 IST(25/3/2014) | Last Updated: 09:14 IST(25/3/2014)

In a first of its kind move, the Income-Tax department will scan the tax returns of the winner and second closest contender in each of the 543 Lok Sabha constituencies and tally these with the asset disclosures that candidates have made in their affidavits while filing nominations for the polls.

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The move is aimed at collating information and clamping down on use of black money by candidates if they were later found to have under-reported their earnings.

“It is not possible to assess each and every affidavit by the I-T department...given the number of candidates fighting the polls across the constituencies. However, we have devised an agreed procedure with the EC that we will priortise those cases which are referred to us by the poll body or we may take up the affidavits of the top two candidates in a seat post the results are out," Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Member K V Chowdary told reporters here.

Besides, the I-T department will also pool data from affidavits to find out if there were an abnormal jump in some candidates’ earnings between 2009 and 2014.

"We will also initiate action in those cases where there is a prima facie evidence that the candidate has furnished wrong details," Chowdary said.

These are part of the Election Commission’s (EC’s) overall plans to clamp down the use of black money by candidates during the polls.

The commission has asked all state Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) to compile the affidavits in an electronic 'data sheet' format which will better enable the I-T authorities to scrutinise these statements which essentially talk about a candidate's liabilities and assets.

The EC had wanted the I-T department to compare the disclosures of all kinds of assets including cash of all candidates with their income tax returns.

The I-T department, however, said the affidavits of candidates as it was "not practical" to go through the statements of each and every candidate.

"We have many mechanisms to detect potential cases of wrong information of assets on the affidavits," Chowdary said.

The CBDT has also deputed 375 IRS (Income Tax) officers as 'Expenditure Observers' to various constituencies under the command of the EC.


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