Mumbai - The income tax department has appealed the people to come forward with information to curb abuse of the electoral process through cash and other inducements during the forthcoming general elections that begin on April 10 and end on May 19.
"We are looking for credible information and intelligence and appeal the people," KK Vyavhare, director general of income tax (investigation), told reporters here.
The department can take various actions, including seizure where unaccounted cash of over Rs 10 crore is found, he said, adding one quick response team has been formed for every constituency.
Over 200 officials, including 50 officers, have already been deployed, he said, adding the number will only go up after March 31, when a large amount of staff will be relieved after fiscal-ending work.
The department has created a helpline number- 1800221510-- for the public to come forward and share information and assured full secrecy to callers.
At the last general election, a similar helpline had received 125 calls but there was no seizure.
Vyavhare said there are many tools which can be deployed by the department to detect any cash distribution activity, and pointed to a seizure of Rs 3.5 crore in Pune recently before announcement of the polls.
It can be noted that the November 2016 note-ban and the massive deposits after that have created a trove of data for the agencies. Vyavhare declined to comment on the controversial decision, though.
He said the cooperative lenders controlled by political persons can be the biggest conduits for such operations and the department is keeping a close watch.
Mumbai will vote on April 29 for the 17th Lok Sabha.