Maharashtra Election Commission officials seized nearly Rs 7 crore in old denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 near Baramati in Pune district, police said on Friday.
The cash belonged to Baramati Sahakari Bank Ltd, which was being taken to its headquarters in Baramati.
“State election commission officials intercepted a vehicle near Bhigwan toll plaza and found Rs 6.98 crore cash in scrapped denominations,” Baramati police station inspector CG Kamble told PTI.
He said four people who were sitting in the vehicle told officials that the cash belonged to Baramati Sahakari Bank Ltd (BSB) and was being taken to Baramati.
When contacted, BSB chairman Shrikant Sikchi confirmed that cash belonged to the bank and they have all the proofs.
“Generally, we deposit our cash collected from all branches in tehsil into nationalised banks. However, no bank is currently accepting our deposits. After reaching out to Reserve Bank of India, they instructed us to deposit our cash, collected from all the branches, into Bank of Maharashtra branch in Bhigwan,” Sikchi claimed.
He said when bank officials reached Bank of Maharashtra, the bank didn’t allow them to deposit cash, citing space crunch and asked us to come later.
“While bringing the cash, which was in the form of old notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1000, to our headquarter in Baramati, the election commission officials intercepted the vehicle,” Sikchi added.
He said they have all the documents to “prove” that cash belongs to the bank and it is legal.
“We have handed over the documents and a letter from RBI to the police station and election commission officials,” Sikchi added.
Police said they have now seized the cash and that the EC officials have notified about it to Income Tax department.
“So far no case has been registered,” Kamble said.
In total, including today’s phase, elections are being held for 212 civic bodies, comprising municipal councils and nagar panchayats, in four phases.
The EC has set up squads in view of the second phase of polls to local bodies, slated on December 14.