Almost a week after Rs 91.5 lakh in demonetised currency was seized from a vehicle owned by the Lokmangal Group in Osmanabad, local officers of the cooperation department have given the company a clean chit. The group’s founder is state cooperation minister Subhash Deshmukh. His son, Rohan, now heads the Lokmangal Group.
The district deputy registrar (DDR) of Osmanabad has submitted his verification report in the cash seizure case to the state election commission (SEC), which reportedly gives the group a clean chit, said sources.
The cash was seized by a flying squad of the SEC from a jeep belonging to Lokmagal Group and driven by its staff. Elections will be held in the municipal councils of Osmanabad district on November 27 and the commission suspects the cash was meant for this. The issue has become an embarrassment for the BJP government in the state, especially when the party has raised the issue of black money.
The district collector, who works as representative of the SEC, had appointed the DDR and officials from the income-tax department to check into accounts related to the cash seized. “The DDR has submitted his report saying the cash that was seized was collected from the branches of the credit society run by the group. It also stated the collection was within the limit of ascertained norms for the credit society,” said an official from the election commission, on the condition of anonymity.
However, the decision on releasing the seized cash will be taken only after a report from IT officials is submitted. The SEC has also written to the chief registrar of multi-state cooperative credit societies controlled by the Union agriculture ministry.
The Opposition, however, has raised the question over the inquiry by a junior officer of the department headed by the minister in question. “The minister should be booked under the law enacted for the action against black-money hoarders. He should be sacked from the cabinet immediately. It is ironic that the government has asked the documents to be verified by DDR of the department headed by the minister. The government is not taking any action against the minister because of pressure from chief minister Devendra Fadnavis,” said Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant.