Not so easy! Smuggling cash tougher this poll year in Telangana

In the event of individuals being caught by the Election Commission of India (ECI) or during police checks or raids, additional charges are incurred.

Published: 19th November 2023 09:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th November 2023 09:44 AM   |  A+A-

Smuggling cash

Police and poll personnel seize Rs 7.4 crore in cash on the outskirts of Hyderabad on Saturday

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: The illegal transportation of cash for the upcoming elections has become a headache for candidates owing to the various types of risks associated with it. Firstly, candidates must arrange funds from different sources and secure a central location. Secondly, they face challenges in collecting funds for transport. The primary hurdle, however, lies in the transportation process itself, as those carrying the money must pass checkposts while safeguarding the cash. According to sources, candidates are using vehicles, such as trucks that typically transport rice and other essential products. 

Even ONE trip can help CASH transporters earn over Rs 1 crore

For easy delivery to designated locations, candidates have devised plans involving trucks. They have also approached a few traders, entering into agreements that involve a hefty commission for transporting the funds.

A few persons are also taking the risk of transporting funds in their personal four-wheelers, modifying their vehicles to accommodate Rs 5 crore to Rs 8 crore in cash. These individuals conceal the money within the seats, door frames, inside stepney tires, and behind the rear seats, sources added.

On the other hand, those responsible for transporting the money demand a hefty commission from the candidates, ranging from 10% to 15% of the amount. For instance, if a candidate orders the delivery of Rs 5 crore, they are asked for a 15% commission. Interestingly, for amounts exceeding Rs 10 crore, the commission is reduced to 10%, allowing the transporters to potentially earn Rs 1 crore in a single order.

In the event of individuals being caught by the Election Commission of India (ECI) or during police checks or raids, additional charges are incurred. If caught by the police, the candidate must arrange bail and appoint an advocate to secure the release of the vehicle. Importantly, the individuals caught by the police are not required to disclose the candidate’s name, revealing only the person who handed over the money.

Post-delivery poses additional challenges, as candidates face discrepancies in the cash bundles received. Sources said there are instances where candidates argue with the individuals responsible for handing over the funds due to shortages. Some candidates have complained to the party leadership regarding discrepancies in the amount received. 

Meanwhile, the middlemen are taking advantage of these situations, picking up cash from the middle of bundles and repackaging them, causing headaches for the candidates. Despite these challenges, candidates are reluctant to escalate the matter further, given the urgency of the ongoing election campaign and their plans to distribute the received cash to the public.

I-T raids after cops seize Rs 7.4 crore in cash

In the biggest cash seizure since October 9, the day the model code of conduct (MCC) came into force, police on Saturday seized Rs 7.4 crore in unaccounted cash from six vehicles, all registered in Khammam RTO, near APPA Junction on the outskirts of the city. Soon after the cash seizure, I-T sleuths conducted searches on a farmhouse and prominent educational institutions in Moinabad police station limits. 

The cash is suspected to be linked to a political figure from Khammam; however, the police have refrained from disclosing details.

Rajendranagar Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Jagadish Reddy said that the checks were conducted as part of routine election measures at APPA Junction in the Moinabad police station limits.

“During the regular checks, a vehicle was found to be carrying the cash. Subsequently, five vehicles associated with the first one were intercepted.

We are investigating and hence cannot reveal more details. However, we will disclose the facts at the earliest. Income Tax officials have been notified,” the DCP said. 

An investigation has been started to trace the source of the cash and the drivers of the six cars will be questioned. 

(With inputs with Priya Rathnam)

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