SAMBALPUR: A day after seizing Rs 1.42 crore from a car, Sambalpur police has fast-tracked the investigation to trace the origin of the new currency that was recovered.
As the currency seized included Rs 85.62 lakh in new notes of Rs 2,000 and Rs 500 denominations, police believe that withdrawal of such huge amount without connivance of senior SBI officials at the branch level is not possible.
Although the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of SBI, Main Branch here, Rashmi Ranjan Rout, and his brother Pankaj, were arrested on Sunday, police strongly believe that more SBI officials could be involved.
A team of police officials visited the main branch of SBI and began investigation into the possible role of the PRO and other officers.
They met the Chief Manager of the branch Aswini Kumar Das and also decided to request the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to obtain details of seized new currency based on the serial number of notes to track down the originating bank.
Sambalpur SP Akhileswar Singh said withdrawal of such huge amount of cash has made the issue murkier. The new `2,000 currency notes totalled ` six lakh and the bundles were of the same series making it clear that it was issued from one bank.
Singh said country liquor baron Zeyarat Ali has admitted that the PRO had exchanged old currencies of `45 lakh for them against payment of commission. Moreover, Zeyarat confessed that Kapil Jhajharia and Rabi Trivedi had exchanged old currencies of `14 lakh and ` six lakh respectively for him, the SP added. The Income Tax department has also been informed about the seizure to pursue the source of income and tax angle, the SP told mediapersons.
It is leant that Zeyarat Ali operates many country liquor brewing units and foreign liquor shops across the region and also holds the power of attorney of many country liquor brewing units. Excise Superintendent Biswanath Satpathy revealed that Zeyarat pays `99 lakh licence fee and excise duty to the Government every month.
In fact, this is the largest ever haul of old and new currency notes in the State post demonetisation. Police had also arrested Zeyarat’s sons, Md Qazzafi, Riffat Ali and Sabtin Ali and seized two firearms and ammunition from them. The other arrested are Jhajharia and Trivedi.