Rs 570 core cash seized in Tamil Nadu, EC says investigations are on

NEW DELHI: With only two days left for the Tamil Nadu polls, election officials in the textile town of Perumanallur in Tirupur district seized three containers carrying Rs 570 crore cash on Saturday morning. The seized vehicles have been now kept in the custody of the Tirupur Election officials at the Collectorate Complex.

The static surveillance team under Vijaykumar along with two other paramilitary forces stopped the vehicle at Perumanallur and carried out questioning. The personnel accompanying the vehicles, who claimed to be policemen from Andhra Pradesh but were not in uniform, told the EC officials that they were transferring Rs 570 crore from the State Bank of India in Coimbatore to Vishakhapatnam branches.

However, the men accompanying the containers could not produce 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 are rushing to the spot now.

The containers carrying the Rs 570 crore cash have not yet been opened. The election officials at Tirupur have conducted preliminary enquiries with the drivers and have intimated the Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni at Chennai who is currently carrying out an investigation.

The Tirupur District Election Officer S Jayanthi addressing media on Saturday morning said, “A separate team will be formed to carry out the investigation based on which the cash seized will be handed over after obtaining the necessary documents.”

Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer TN Rajesh Lakhoni told the media, “Cash was being transferred to Vijaywada. The security guards were not in uniform and didn’t have complete documents. They only had the photocopy of the documents and did not possess the original ones. Have asked senior officials of SBI and a special team has been formed to investigate the incident.”

The election officials have already seized over Rs 100 crore in this elections. Tamil Nadu goes to the polls on May 16.

(With agency inputs)