Meghalaya election office asks banks to monitor 'suspicious' cash transactions by candidates in poll-bound state

Shillong: The Meghalaya Election office on Friday asked all the banks in the state to monitor and submit report on "unusual" and "suspicious" cash transactions exceeding Rs 1 lakh by candidates and their spouse to check cash flow in the 27 February poll.

Direction in this regard was given after a meeting held by state Chief Electoral Officer FR Kharkongor with banks operating in Meghalaya.

As many as 36 banks are operating in Meghalaya including the State Bank of India (SBI), Meghalaya Rural Bank (MRB) and Meghalaya Cooperative Apex Bank (MCAB).

 Meghalaya election office asks banks to monitor suspicious cash transactions by candidates in poll-bound state

Representational image. Reuters.

Election Commission of India had on Thursday announced poll for 60-member Meghalaya Assembly on 27 February. Result would be announced on 3 March with Tripura and Nagaland. Model code of conduct has come in action after announcement of the poll.

The term of the present House expires on 6 March.

“We have brought to their notice that the banks need to share information with respective deputy commissioners or district election officers regarding suspicious cash transaction through banks exceeding Rs one lakh," chief electoral officer told reporters.

Banks have been told to also monitor transaction from account of candidate's spouse or his dependents, as mentioned in the affidavit filed by them which is available on CEO’s website.

SLBC convener Bimal Deb Roy informed that these banks are having over 395 branches spread in 11 istricts of the state.

In the Garo Hills region alone, SBI is having 41 branches while MRB is having 30 branches and MCAB 25 branches, he said.

The Chief Electoral Officer said that the banks will keep a close watch on the unusual and suspicious cash withdrawal or deposit of cash in a bank account exceeding Rs 1 lakh during the process of election, without any such instance of deposit or withdrawal during the last two months.

He said the banks will also look into the unusual transfer of amount by RTGS from one bank account to the accounts of several persons in a district/constituency during the election process without any precedent of such transfer.

Besides, the banks have also been instructed to open dedicated counters for election purpose to facilitate prompt service to the candidates in opening of bank accounts and will be allowed for withdrawals and deposits on priority.

"There is also a standing provision if withdrawal is more than Rs 10 lakh, such information should be passed on to the nodal officer of the income tax department for taking necessary actions under the income tax laws," he said.

Kharkongor further said district election officers (DEOs) have also activated 180 flying squads who will be acting on tip offs on the movement of cash and take necessary actions.

He also said that the Election Commission will also be deploying Expenditure Observers in all the 60 constituencies. “They will be deployed in expenditure sensitive areas,” he added.

Reacting to a query, the CEO said that money above Rs 50,000 will be seized and the person from whom it is found will be called for explanation.

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Updated Date: Jan 19, 2018 19:14:27 IST