GUWAHATI, April 3 - The Income Tax department has detected hundreds of suspicious transactions in banks, including rural and cooperative banks, in the past few days in the Northeast and investigation has been launched into some 200 cases so far.
�The initial sample data received for a few days preceding March 31 has confirmed the apprehension of our investigating officers that banks are being possibly used as safe conduits to hide and move suspicious cash. Investigation has been initiated in about 200 cases so far,� Northeast�s Principal Director of Income Tax (Investigation) Sanjay Bahadur said.
The data so far procured is limited to about only ten days of transactions supplied by just five major banks of the region.
�Even from this small sample, hundreds of suspicious cash deposits/ withdrawals in banks for amounts more than Rs 10 lakh have been discovered and are under scanner,� Bahadur said.
By collating and triangulating internal intelligence reports, the modus operandi seems to be that cash is deposited in banks and may move undetected through banking channels or may stay dormant till required. At the appropriate moment, cash is withdrawn in installments and it evaporates in the system,� Bahadur said.
The Income Tax official admitted that the magnitude and frequency of such transactions is a matter of grave concern and the investigation directorate is gearing up for a massive exercise of investigation in days to come as data from over 100 banks across the region is expected to be received.
Income Tax officials admitted that many suspicious transactions preceding the announcement of elections have gone below the radar of the routine process of election expenditure monitoring and ground level intelligence indicates that it is highly possible that substantial part of this cash flow is being misused for vitiating free and fair elections. This preliminary finding has been brought to the notice of the ECI.
An interagency coordination meeting has been scheduled for tomorrow for better synergy and exchange of actionable intelligence in real time.
As on April 2, the cash seizures by the Income Tax department in various interceptions in the region stands at Rs 1.96 crore.
Since the date of notification of general elections, over 150 Income Tax officials have been deployed in seven control rooms and 41 surveillance teams across the region to monitor 112 districts and 12 airports.