ROURKELA/ BHAWANIPATNA/ BHUBANESWAR: A day before the first phase polls go underway in the State, cash to the tune of `31.48 lakh was seized by police and officials at different places.On Wednesday, two unidentified persons from Jharkhand dropped `27.49 lakh cash on the road to avoid a Static Surveillance Squad on election duty at Mahipani within Bisra police limits in Sundargarh district.
The duo entered Birmitrapur Assembly segment in a numberless luxury car but on seeing the squad, dropped the cash bag on the spot and fled back to Jharkhand in their vehicle.
Assistant Returning Officer BR Rath said the incident took place at around 11.30 am. “The numberless white Audi car was coming from Jharkhand. On spotting the surveillance squad, the duo dropped the bag containing `27,49,500 and sped away in reverse direction towards Jharkhand,” he said.Though the cops gave them a chase but they managed to escape as the police vehicle had to stop due to sudden closure of Mahipani railway level-crossing gate.
Rath said the Income Tax department has been informed and a case would be registered with the police against unknown persons. He said it was obvious that the money was meant for illegal election expenditure. The cash has been deposited at the Special Treasury, Panposh.
Cash seized from BJD candidate’s vehicle
At Bhawanipatna, the flying squad seized `2 lakh from the car allegedly used by BJD candidate for Lanjigarh Pradip Kumar Dishari. Jaipatna police seized the car and are investigating the source, ownership of the money and for which purpose it was being transported. Sources said Dishari was travelling in Jaipatna town when police intercepted him and searched his car. In another incident, flying squad seized `1.99 lakh from a person of Raigarh in Chhattisgarh, who travelling in a car near Bhawanipatna.
`2.29 lakh found in man’s car
Similarly, the Static Surveillance Team intercepted a man, identified as Manish Kumar, at unit-III in Bhubaneswar on suspicion that he was carrying unaccounted cash in his car. On searching the vehicle, the officials found `2.29 lakh in cash.Kumar, who is the manager of a City-based medical coaching institute, told the authorities that the money had been collected from students and he was going to deposit the cash in a bank after dropping his children at his house.
The officials verified the documents provided by Kumar and found out that the cash was accounted for. He was released after preliminary investigation. Bhubaneswar DCP Anup Sahu said surveillance teams and flying squads are conducting inspection in all the constituencies in the Capital City.
Meanwhile, Election Commission (EC) officials on Wednesday informed that flying squads and police have seized unaccounted cash of around `2.60 crore in the State so far. Excise officials have also seized round 1.12 lakh litres of liquor worth `3.31 crore during raids.
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) for Odisha Surendra Kumar said flying squads, static surveillance squads, Excise teams and poll observers have been deployed in all constituencies for strict enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct in the State.