The Madras high court on Monday ordered a CBI probe into the massive cash haul of Rs 570 crore during the assembly elections in Tamil Nadu based on a petition filed by an opposition party leader.
Justice R Subaiah directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to conduct a preliminary investigation into the matter to ascertain the merits of the case.
“If a prima facie case is made out, the CBI shall initiate appropriate action in accordance with law,” the judge said.
The high court was acting on a petition filed by TKS Elangovan, a Rajya Sabha MP and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) member. Elangovan alleged that the cash found was from a hawala operation involving Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Officials on poll duty seized the cash from three containers in Tirupur on May 13. The State Bank of India (SBI) claimed that the money was theirs and was being shifted to Vishakapatnam as per rules and regulations.
However, the transporters who were apprehended did not have valid documents and the money bills had markings of a different bank.
Further, SBI did not seek local police protection for the convoy, raising serious doubts over the claim, the DMK state in its petition.
The DMK MP had submitted that as per Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, it was the CBI’s duty to register a case the moment a cognizable offence is alleged.
Elangovan also wrote to the Prime Minister seeking his intervention in ordering the probe while DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi wrote to the central government.
The judge had on June 29 reserved orders on the petition after hearing arguments by the counsel for CBI and the petitioner.
During this hearing, the Reserve Bank of India informed the high court that the transfer was part of regular money movement under currency management function and that it had given its approval to SBI for the same.
(With inputs from agencies)