President Pratibha Patil's son and Congress MLA Raosaheb Shekhawat on Tuesday said the "communication gap" between him and the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) led to the seizure of Rs 1 crore in cash by the local police ahead of the civic polls on February 12.
"There was a communication gap and MPCC could not inform me how and when the fund was dispatched and I came to know only when the Amravati Police seized the vehicle and recovered cash to the tune of Rs one crore.
I got a call from the person bringing cash to Amravati when police detained him. After the seizure, I contacted MPCC office who then quickly faxed detailed statements of disbursement to Amravati Police," Shekhawat told reporters after recording his statement before the Commissioner of Police Amitesh Kumar.
"I told police that Rs 1 crore was meant for disbursement among 87 Congress nominees in proportion of Rs one lakh each for municipal polls and remaining Rs 13 lakh was supposed to be spent by the Amravati District Congress Committee for meeting the expenses and making advance payments. The entire fund was sent by MPCC through its general secretary advocate Ganesh Patil,"Shekhawat said.
We submitted original papers to police for verification and we also told them about the sequence of events, Shekhawat's lawyer Wasim Ahmead Mirza said.
The City Police had asked Shekhawat besides others to record his statement following the direction by a local court in this regard after seizure of the cash.
"Our explanation was satisfactory and we have placed facts before police," Mirza said.
He, however, evaded a direct reply to a query on how the cash landed in the seized vehicle belonging to a private businessman from Nagpur Satyanarayan Agarwal.
Mirza also could not explain about the role of a personal staff of the Minister of State for Water Resources Rajendra Mulak in transportation of cash.
Deputy Inspector General of Police and Amravati Police chief Amitesh Kumar told reporters that Shekhawat has recorded his statement in connection with the seizure.
Cash worth Rs 1 crore, which was being transported into the city from Nagpur in a car and meant to be used during the civic polls, was seized in the early hours of February 12 and two persons were arrested in the case.
"We are verifying and investigating the source and destination of funds seized and cross checking every angle," Kumar said while refusing to elaborate as the investigations are in a "critical" stage.
To a query on Rajendra Mulak, the police chief said the former had sought time and may appear before police on February 27 or February 28.
Following the seizure, the Election Commission had directed the district collector and municipal commissioner to file a report about the incident. The Collector had also issued a notice to Shekhawat and others in the case.
Meanwhile, the MLA, who also have to appear before Collector Rahul Mahiwal as per the EC's notice, would have to wait till the officer returns to the city from his official visit in Mumbai, sources said.