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EC keeps eye on pvt flights to check flow of black money

In a first, the Election Commission of India is going to tighten its grip on the flow of black money by air during the coming Lok Sabha polls.

india Updated: Mar 14, 2014 12:26 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times

In a first, the Election Commission of India is going to tighten its grip on the flow of black money by air during the coming Lok Sabha polls.

In a host of guidelines announced on Thursday, the commission put stringent checks to ensure black money was not transported through commercial flights or chartered ones.

In a meeting between Delhi electoral office officials and Delhi airport and security authorities on Thursday, it was decided that the Delhi air traffic control (ATC) would keep record of all movements by private helicopters or chartered flights during the election period.

Similar measures would be taken at other airports in the country.

Landing and take-off of such aircraft would immediately be informed to the state electoral officials by the respective ATCs at least half an hour in advance.

The names of travellers carrying more than Rs. 10 lakh in cash or more than 1 kg of gold in domestic flights, flying to or from a poll-bound state, have to be informed to the income tax department.

In case of a seizure, the security and IT officials have to record the entire event through CCTV cameras. The footage would have to be preserved for three months and provided to the election commission on request.

Any candidate, party agent or functionary, however, cannot carry more than Rs. 50,000, contraband goods or unauthorised arms. Such items can be investigated and seized by the authorities.

All baggage, including hand baggage, of passengers will not be exempted from security checks but instead allowed to be carried up to the aircraft after being thoroughly checked. Baggage of arriving passengers will be scanned at the airport with X-Ray screening machines.

At remote or uncontrolled helipads or airstrips, the flying squad or local police, in coordination with the pilot of the aircraft, will screen all baggage in the aircraft.

Passengers, however, will not be frisked unless there is any specific information.

Also, for landing at remote helipads or airstrips, the district electoral officer has to be informed at least 24 hours before the scheduled landing.

The details of travel, place of landing and names of passengers have to be made available so that security arrangements can be made in advance.

Candidates will also have to inform the returning officer about the amount paid for hiring the aircraft within five days of landing so that it can be added to their election expenditure.

First Published: Mar 14, 2014 11:35 IST