New Delhi: Money-launderers in the country who are using banks and some other routes now to convert their black- money into white, are believed to have used election for the same purpose in the past. Tax pundits are not the only people who suspect it. The Election Commission does not think otherwise and, therefore, it has begun an exercise to identify possible areas of money-laundering.
In course of the inquiry In the initial stage, it has identified one such area-- formation of a political party, getting it registered with the Commission. The registration entitles them to get tax exemption for contribution and donation made to it.
According to official sources, a good number of political parties have been set up for the purpose and many of them have used this route for money-laundering.
There are as many as 1900 parties registered with the Commission out of which 400 are those which have not contested any election, the purpose for which they were set-up. Many of them are suspected to have been set-up for other purposes including conversion of ill-gotten money.
Money received by them has been shown as donation which is exempted from taxes. Since the source of donation is not questionable, black- money could be easily transferred and claimed as genuine. In the light of this finding the Commission has begun de-listing them. The ultimate aim of the election body is to cancel registration of all the parties registered with it which have not fought any election so far .
In the meantime it has asked state election commissions to furnish list of such parties every year so that action can be taken against them by the central body.
The sources pointed out that the Commission has also mooted some other proposals to clean the system. One of them is to declare any kind of bribe offered for election as a criminal offence and make it non-bailable. The Commission has already written a letter to the government in this regard and urged it to take a final call before the assembly elections in five states early next year.
The government may use the ordinance route to implement the decision if the two houses of parliament are not in session at the that time. The other proposal sent to the government is to amend the People's Representation Act and enhance the quantum of punishment from six months to two years.
The Centre could also take up the issue of unseating of members disqualified by the court. Some states including Uttar Pradesh have not unseated such members which amount to contempt of court.