I-T dept unable to keep tab on black money used in polls | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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I-T dept unable to keep tab on black money used in polls

Reeling under a shortage of officers, the investigation wing of the income tax (I-T) department is finding it difficult to keep a tab on use of black money in the upcoming civic elections.

mumbai Updated: Jan 14, 2012 01:17 IST
Manish Pachouly

Reeling under a shortage of officers, the investigation wing of the income tax (I-T) department is finding it difficult to keep a tab on use of black money in the upcoming civic elections.

The election commission recently directed the I-T department to keep watch on black money usage during elections in various parts of the country.

However, the investigation wing in the city - which gathers intelligence and information on unaccounted money and conducts searchers - should ideally have more than 55 officials, but is short by around 20 officers. Moreover, it is currently chasing 100 city-based black money holders abroad, who are a part of the list recently given to the Indian government by France.

It also needs to conduct regular searches till March end, to help the Mumbai circle achieve the target of Rs2.04 lakh crore, which it is currently falling short of.

"With limited number of officers, who are already handling major cases relating to black money, it is difficult to keep watch on the large number of candidates for civic elections," an I-T official said, not wishing to be named.

He added that tracking use of black money in the polls would require officers' entire attention, which, given the staff strength, would not be possible.

"We want to unearth black money used by candidates and political parties, but now, we have to depend on various agencies, including the police, Customs and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)," the official said.

Unaccounted money comes to the city through hawala (illegal channels to transfer money), or by air or road, and the role of these agencies in detecting the same would be important, he said. If these agencies alert the department, it will take action against the political party or candidate concerned.