In a dramatic chase in Tamil Nadu’s Tirpur, election officials chased three containers and seized about Rs 570 crore during checking on Saturday. Occupants of the vehicles claimed that they were carrying inter-bank money transfer Tamil Nadu to Andhra Pradesh.
The flying squad of the election department, along with paramilitary forces, seized the cash early this morning during a routine vehicle check on Perumanallur-Kunnathur Bypas, police said.
Tamil Nadu Election Commissioner Rajesh Lahoni said that security guards only had the photocopy of the documents and did not possess the originals
“Police formed a special team to investigate the incident. Cash was being transferred to Vijaywada, security was not in uniform & did not have complete documents,” said Rajesh Lahoni, Chief Electoral Officer TN
Officials also said that personnel accompanying the containers told them that they were transferring Rs 570 crore from State Bank of India in Coimbatore to Vishakhapatnam branches but did not have all the necessary documents and efforts were on to ascertain the veracity of their claim.
“The containers escorted by three cars, did not halt, but officials chased them and stopped them near Chengapalli,” officials said. The men in cars, who claimed to be policemen from Andhra Pradesh but were not in uniform, told the officials they were transferring Rs 570 crore from State Bank of India in Coimbatore to Vishakhapatnam branches.
However, they could not produce any proper documents to substantiate their claims, following which the vehicles were taken to the District Collectorate in Tirupur.
Asked why they had sped away without stopping, they told the police they feared it was a robbery attempt and that they were unaware that the officials were from the election department.
Bank officials from Coimbatore and Vishakhapatnam were informed and are rushing to the spot, police said.
Earlier on Friday election officials said that a seizure of cash in Tamil Nadu has gone over Rs 100 crore. Senior Income Tax department and Election Commission (EC) officials said the seizure is the highest interdiction in any poll going state in the recent times.
As per data updated till May 13, a total of Rs 23.15 crore has been seized in Kerala, out of which Rs 1.43 crore has been released while in poll-bound Puducherry, out of the total seizure of Rs 4.73 crore, Rs 4.3 crore has been released.
Keeping in view the abuse of money power in Tamil Nadu, the EC had last month also issued some special instructions to be followed by observers and members of the surveillance teams deployed in the state.
The Commission had sought “stepped-up vigil” across Tamil Nadu to detect and intercept cash and other inducements being used to lure voters and ensure that a level-playing field is maintained.
Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry will go to polls in a single phase on May 16 and the counting of votes in all the five states is slated for May 19.