IT dept clears Rs 2 crore seized, CEO files case against BJP worker in Karnataka

The SST team of Chamarajpet, Benagluru, on April 20, had intercepted a car carrying Rs 2 crore cash at 4.05 pm.
BJP Flag used for representational purposes.
BJP Flag used for representational purposes.Photo| PTI

BENGALURU: A day after Rs 2 crore was recovered from a vehicle by the SST team, election officials on Sunday filed a case against a BJP worker after seeking permission from the court and Election Commission of India.

The SST team of Chamarajpet, Benagluru, on April 20, had intercepted a car carrying Rs 2 crore cash at 4.05 pm. The vehicle was seized and the income tax officials were alerted. The IT team verified the documents and summoned BJP office-bearers and concluded that there was no violation under IT laws.

In the meantime, officials from the Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka, had intimated the Election Commission of India, as per procedure. “As per ECI directions cash of over Rs 10,000 given to party functionaries, candidates or agents for political activities should be done through cheques or online mode. ECI has also advised political parties not to carry huge amounts of cash.

As there is a violation of ECI directions and as the recipients’ list was not produced, the FIR has been filed, based on suspicion that money may be used for inducement in elections,” said an official release from CEO.

The FIR has been filed under Section 123 of the Representation of People’s Act and 171 (B), (C), (E) and (F) of IPC related to bribery and undue influence.

The media release from the CEO’s office also stated, “Court permission was obtained for booking the FIR at 11 am on April 21 against Lokesh Ambekallu, Secretary, BJP state office, Venkatesh Prasad (driver) and Gangadhar (accompany) by SST of 168- Chamarajpet Assembly Constituency of Bangalore Central Parliamentary Constituency at Cottonpet.”

As per the FIR, a copy of which is with The New Indian Express, the SST team had intercepted a vehicle (KA-09-MB-2412) and found two bags containing cash.

There were two persons in the car -- Venkatesh Prasad and Gangadhar. When questioned, they admitted that the money was being taken for BJP and produced a letter of the political party dated April 20.

It is a violation of model code of conduct: Chief Electoral Officer

The letter mentioned the details of Canara Bank, Kodandaramapura branch with account number and cheque details of withdrawal of Rs 5 crore. In the letter, it was also mentioned that of Rs 5 crore, Rs 2 crore was being sent through Venkatesh Prasad in the vehicle bearing registration number KA-09 MB-2412 to be distributed to booth workers of Mysore-Kodagu, Chamarajanagar and Dakshina Kannada Lok Sabha constituencies for party programmes.

Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka, Manoj Kumar Meena told The New Indian Express that two different agencies worked on this. While the IT department found no anomaly, there is a violation as per election rules and hence an FIR has been filed, he said.

“It is a violation of model code of conduct over distribution of money and carrying cash, much more than the permitted limit. Bribery  case has been booked as per ECI guidelines,” he said.

“This Rs 2 crore cash has been seized by the police and MCC team in Bengaluru Urban district and case booked. The money remains seized. The case was presented to the magistrate and an FIR under various sections of Indian Penal Code electoral offences have been booked,” added Munish Moudgil, MCC nodal officer, Bengaluru Urban district.

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