SAMBALPUR: In the largest ever haul of old and new currency notes in the State post demonetisation, Sambalpur Police seized Rs 1,42,91,500 from a car on Saturday night. The police also arrested eight persons including country liquor baron Zeyarat Ali (59) of Sunapali under Dhanupali Police limits in the city and his sons Md Qazzafi (35), Riffat Ali (33) and Sabtin Ali (31). Two fire arms and ammunitions were seized from their possession.
Other arrested are Public Relation Officer of State Bank of India (SBI) Rashmi Ranjan Rout (36) and his brother Pankaj Kumar Rout (43) of Sakhipara under Dhanupali Police limits, Kapil Jhajharia (37) of Marwaripara and Rabi Trivedi (40) of Nayapara in Golebazar under Sambalpur Town Police limits.
Briefing newsmen on Sunday afternoon, Sambalpur SP Akhileshwar Singh said they had information about some people moving in a car with firearms. Acting on the input, the police traced the vehicle and intercepted it near Dhanupali Chowk in the city. Ali and his three sons, who were in the car, tried to dodge the police but failed.
Later, police found a revolver and a mauser besides ammunition from the possession of two sons of Ali. Further search of the vehicle led to recovery of the cash concealed in bags.
During their interrogation, police came to know of the involvement of the SBI PRO and his brother and the interrogation of the duo led police to Jhajharia and Trivedi.
The seized currency includes Rs 85,62,000 in new notes of Rs 2000 and Rs 500 denominations and Rs 25,29,000 in old currency notes including notes of Rs 1000, Rs 500 and smaller denominations.
While people have been facing numerous hardships over non-availability of adequate cash, how a whopping Rs 85 lakh in new currencies could be possessed by Ali has baffled many.
Preliminary investigation revealed that the notes belong to Ali and could possibly be smuggled to Sambalpur city for exchange with new notes on commission, the SP said.
He said further investigation is underway and did not rule out more arrest in the case. The Income Tax department has been informed about the seizure, he added.