Hundreds of vehicles carrying cash for Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) across Bihar are under the scanner of revenue intelligence agencies to check use of black money during the upcoming Assembly polls in the state.
Banks have been asked to maintain a record of cash being ferried in these vehicles all the time and produce it on demand by the officials engaged in checking illegal flow of money ahead of the elections, official sources said.
These vans are run by private security agencies and engaged by various banks. These vehicles are usually exempted from the checks as they are contracted by banks after necessary due diligence, they said.
“Necessary instructions have been passed on to the banks and officials to check these vans. There is a possibility to route illegal cash through these vehicles,” a source said.
The Election Commission has also issued instructions in this regard.
Polling for the 243-member Bihar Assembly will be held on October 12, 16, 18 and November 1 and 5. The counting will take place on November 8.
All government agencies are maintaining strict vigil to check the flow of illegal money ahead of the polls.
The election machinery in poll-bound state has so far seized over Rs 12 crore, which is more than double the amount confiscated in the state during Lok Sabha polls last year.
During the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the authorities had seized Rs 6 crore from Bihar which was believed to be meant to influence voters.
The Election Commission has issued comprehensive instructions for effective monitoring of the poll expenditure of the candidates, which include formation of flying squads, static and video surveillance teams, involvement of investigation directorates of Income Tax department, etc.
State excise department and police authorities have been also asked to monitor production, distribution, sale and storage of liquor and other intoxicants during the election process.
For greater transparency and for ease of monitoring of election expenses, candidates are required to open a separate bank account and incur their election expenses from that.
The investigation directorate of Income Tax department has been asked to open air intelligence units at the airports and also to gather intelligence and take necessary action against movement of large sum of money.
There will be 80 expenditure observers during the polls in addition to 243 general observers–one for each constituency.