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EC seizes Rs 570cr from 3 trucks in TN, SBI says it’s theirs

Electoral officials in Tamil Nadu on Saturday seized about Rs 570 crore from three containers during checking in Tirupur district, which the occupants of the vehicles claimed was for inter-bank money transfer.

india Updated: May 14, 2016 22:44 IST
Electoral officials,Vishakhapatnam,squad
Officials said that personnel accompanying the containers told them that they were transferring Rs 570 crore from State Bank of India in Coimbatore to Vishakhapatnam branches.(ANI Photo)

The Election Commission seized Rs 570 crore from three trucks after a dramatic chase in poll-bound Tamil Nadu late Friday.

Hours later, the State Bank of India claimed the money belonged to the bank and was being transferred to Visakapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

The cash was taken to the Tirupur collectorate after bank officials travelling with the trucks failed to produce valid documents. They were questioned by the poll panel, which has launched a massive operation to check misuse of money during polls.

Late on Saturday, SBI officials reached the collectorate to claim the money but it was yet to be released as EC officials were verifying the documents.

After the seizure, the drivers of the trucks claimed that they were taking the money from a SBI branch in Coimbatore to Visakhapatnam.

Read: Catch them if you can: Tamil Nadu parties are buying up elections

“A container has been stopped which was purportedly transferring Rs 195 crore for the bank after doubts were raised,” Tamil Nadu’s chief electoral officer Rajesh Lakhoni said.

“Additional documents that have been examined show that the total amount of money is Rs 570 crore for an SBI transfer. No amount of money has been seized yet,” he said.

The flying squad of the election department, along with paramilitary forces, stopped the three trucks early on Saturday during a routine vehicle check on Perumanallur-Kunnathur bypass, according to police.

The containers escorted by three cars did not halt and officials chased and stopped them near Chengapalli.

The drivers, who claimed to be policemen from Andhra Pradesh but were not in uniform, told officials they were transferring the money from SBI in Coimbatore to a branch in Visakhapatnam.

They told the police they feared it was a robbery attempt and were unaware that the officials were from the election department.

Bank officials from Coimbatore and Visakhapatnam were informed and are rushing to the spot, police said.

More than Rs 100 crore have been seized by the Election Commission in the run-up to the May 16 assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.

The SBI said its officials in Chennai, Coimbatore and Tirupur are providing all support and clarifications to the authorities and are hopeful of quick resolution of the matter and release of the cash.

With agency inputs

First Published: May 14, 2016 11:18 IST