After vehicles, it’s your bank accounts that will be checked in the run-up to the Punjab assembly polls.
In a move to curb the misuse of money during the elections, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued directions to all banks to keep tabs on people conducting transactions above Rs 1 lakh and provide details of such account holders.
“The misuse of money in Punjab or anywhere else in the country during the elections is not a new practice. However, this time, certain guidelines have been issued to banks in order to keep a check on this menace. All banks have been directed to provide details of anyone withdrawing more than Rs 1 lakh cash in a day to the district election officer (DEO),” said a senior official of the chief electoral office, Punjab.
State chief electoral officer Kusumjit Sidhu had recently asked deputy commissioners-cum-district electoral officers to hold meetings with bank officials in this regard.
“Transactions in large amounts will be monitored till the declaration of the results. The banks will have to send a daily report to the district election officer or returning officer (RO), furnishing details of withdrawal of over Rs 1 lakh from any individual’s account,” said Barnala DEO Paramjit Singh.
The bank authorities were also directed not to open any joint account in the name of an election candidate.
As per the new ruling, if the DEO or RO thinks that the withdrawal of money is of a suspicious nature, he or she would immediately report it to the state electoral authorities and also to the topmost income tax officer in the district.
In case the transaction is tracked to a poll candidate, the income tax department will initiate legal action.
As per the ECI order, the norms will be applicable not only to individuals but also to NGOs and other organisations.