Rajahmundry: E-wallets may be used to distribute money

Transactions above Rs 1 lakh would be reported to EC.

Rajahmundry: Banks have heightened vigil over cash deposits and withdrawals in the poll season, and any suspicious transaction of over Rs 1 lakh would be reported to the Election Commission. But the transfer of small amounts of money through e-wallets may be difficult to track.

As both the ruling Telugu Desam and the Opposition YSRC are vying with each other in luring the voters by offering money ranging from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000 for each voter.

According to sources, a section of contestants is looking at e-wallets and payment banks as options to transfer money. The money can be transferred from e-wallet to e-wallet or payment bank to payment bank and even vice versa, and candidates feel that they can use this feature to escape the monitoring of their transaction.

Banking experts feel that the transfer of money to a large number of e-wallets from a single account can raise suspicion.

A Mumbai-based payment expert said, “This looks difficult to do but is not impossible. It will be traceable. For example, a contestant wants to transfer Rs 1 crore to voters. He will have to get 100 people who are willing to give their KYC and allow the contestant to transfer the money in their e-wallets. But since the money is going to 100 e-wallets from a bank account, it can raise suspicion.”

One can transfer a maximum of Rs 10,000 per month from non-KYC e-wallets and payment gateways. The KYC compliant e-wallets and payments gateways can transfer up to Rs 1 lakh a month.

Since transfers made through the payment gateway happen from a bank account, experts claimed that this would always traceable.Such transactions may also not catch the attention of the Election Commission and the RBI, if the banks don’t report them under the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

According to an estimate, 40 to 50 e-wallets exist like Paytm, MobiKwik, PayUmoney, Citrus Pay and so on. Similarly, nearly 11 payment banks exist and out of them nearly seven are functional like Aditya Birla Payments Bank, Fino Pay Tech and others in the country and all of them function as per guidelines of RBI.

As the Election Commission has imposed ceiling on election expenditure by the contestants to the tune of Rs 70 lakh for a Parliamentary segment and Rs 28 lakh for an Assembly segment in the state and this limit is no longer sufficient to the contestants to take up electioneering, the political parties find out alternate ways to spend money undetected and availing the services of payment gateways is only one of them as it is no longer believed to be under scanner by the Election Commission.

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