I-T Dept control room to check expenses during Bihar polls

The decision follows a directive by the Election Commission to the Finance Ministry to make available the investigation wing of the department to monitor the election expenses of candidates for assembly polls and a bye-election for a Parliamentary seat.

The control room set up by the Director General (Investigation) of Patna will oversee the expenses being made by the candidates during the polls beginning October 21.

Under the Election Commission guidelines, a candidate contesting election in Bihar can spend up to a maximum of Rs 10 lakh for assembly polls and Rs 25 lakh for Parliament election. The expenses incurred by political party, however, are not covered under this limit.
Polls to the Bihar assembly will be conducted in six phases.

Every assembly constituency will have an election expenditure observer drawn from the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) who will monitor the expenses of each candidate with the help of other state government officials.

The EC has recently activated a Election Expenditure Monitoring (EEM) cell in its establishment, headed by a senior IRS officer, to curb the use of illegal money in the polls.

The upcoming Bihar Assembly polls are the first assignment for the latest cell in the EC which has also brought out new guidelines like creation of "shadow" expenditure registers and exclusive election bank accounts by the candidates trying their luck in the electoral battle.

The department has also activated two exclusive Air Intelligence Units (AIUs) to be manned by I-T sleuths at Patna and Ranchi airports to check influx of huge cash from domestic and foreign shores in view of the forthcoming polls.

An AIU of the I-T department is established at such airports where there is a suspicion of movement of huge unaccounted cash and other valuables like jewellery and the officials at these units are empowered to search and seize cash and even detain and arrest suspects with the help of police.

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