Taxman to look at election affidavits

The Election Commission has asked the Union Finance Ministry and the Income Tax Department to verify the affidavits filed by political leaders during Lok Sabha elections.

IT department will crosscheck the details of the assets declared by candidate in the affidavits with their income tax returns (ITRs) and past records.

The EC has written a letter to all chief election officers, including that of Rajasthan.

This is a first of its kind initiative being taken in all states on the directions of the EC.

“Election commission has written to Income Tax Department and Union Finance Ministry to verify affidavits of the candidates. EC has asked IT Department and the ministry to submit the final report within six months. We have also received a letter through EC in this regard. So the IT Department here will verify the assets declared by candidates in Rajasthan,” said state Chief Election Officer Ashok Jain.

Officials informed that IT department will take all the affidavits from the official website of the Chief Election Officer, Rajasthan, where they have have already been uploaded.
If any candidate is found guilty, IT Department will take action.

“Its up to the IT Department to take action as per rules. They can impose penalty or may even take legal action. We will cooperate with the department in all possible ways,” said Jain.

Sources said the IT Department may charge outstanding tax along with a heavy penalty from candidates who showed more assets in their affidavits than in their income tax returns.

And in case the returns declared more than the assets mentioned in the affidavit, the candidate may also face legal action.

The EC took the step after increasing complaints over candidates concealing their property details in their poll affidavits.

Election department sources said the EC had noticed huge differences in the affidavits and the income tax returns filed by the candidates.

The EC move has been appreciated by all political parties in the state but at the same time leaders have advised the commission to first look into fair implementation of the code of conduct and other provisions.

The leaders said the EC should ensure strict action against candidates found guilty.

“The biggest problem with the EC is that it never takes strict action against the candidates. When any complaint is lodged, EC serves notice and seeks explanation from the candidates. Once elections results are declared, the matter gets diluted and no action is taken later. So this time EC should ensure action is taken against the defaulters,” said state Congress spokesperson Archana Sharma.

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