Seizure of huge amount of unaccounted money in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh and private money in vehicles meant to transport bank cash has caused an alarm in the Election Commission.
The commission has written to the Central investigating agencies looking into financial crimes to keep a tab on hawala operators, suspected to be routing unaccounted foreign funds for electoral purposes. It has also asked Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to ensure no private money is carried in banks money vans.
Over Rs 33 crore of unaccounted money has been seized in five election bound states.
The EC has received specific inputs that money worth crore of rupees was being send through Hawala operators for elections in Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Goa. Of the Rs 9 crore unaccounted money seized in Punjab, a huge amount is suspected to from non-resident Indians having stake in state elections.
“We have asked Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Income Tax department and Enforcement Directorate to work on the specific leads,” a senior commission official told HT.
In another communication to country’s banking regulator RBI, the EC said the bank’s official vehicles could be used to transport black money during elections. “It is safe and unsuspecting way,” an EC official admitted.
The Uttar Pradesh had found private money in bank’s official vehicles on their way from Delhi in Noida and Ghaziabad. A van was carrying cash worth Rs 13.5 crore of which Rs 50 lakh was private money. The EC found that there was no bank official in the vehicle and keys of the trunks containing money was with the van driver. “It was violation of RBI guidelines,” an EC official said.