Congress accuses BJP of indulging in cash for votes in Arunachal ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s rally
The seizure of Rs 1.8 crore from some vehicles in Arunachal Pradesh late on Tuesday night has set off a row after the Congress alleged that the money was found from cars linked to chief minister Pema Khandu and meant to bribe voters.
Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged the vehicles, from which the money was recovered, were part of the chief minister’s convoy. The cash, he said, was being transported in vehicles from the Siang guest house at Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh.
The searches were carried out on the complaint of local Youth Congress members, he said.
“Was this part of Rs 80 lakh crore black money that the PM promised to bring back within 100 days of assuming power?” Randeep Surjewala said.
Arunachal’s top election officer has confirmed the seizure but said that he hadn’t yet received a formal report from district officials.
“It is true that a cash amount of Rs 1.8 crore were recovered on Tuesday night from some vehicles. But we don’t have the exact details yet. Since the Deputy Commissioner and police superintendent of East Siang district are busy with the Prime Minister’s rally in Pasighat, they have not sent a report yet about the recovery. We would be able to get a clearer picture once the report is available by late afternoon,” said Arunachal Pradesh chief electoral officer Kaling Tayeng.
Tayeng also refuted reports appearing in social media about the recovery of Rs 9 crore from some buses in Arunachal Pradesh as false.
Back in Delhi, Congress’s Randeep Surjewala alleged, while showing two videos, the authenticity of which cannot be verified, that the money was recovered around 10.30 pm on Tuesday night from Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu’s convoy.
The videos show the money being removed from a car and also shows the registration plates of two cars apart from various police officers.
Having played the videos, Surjewala said, “The sensational disclosures and the two videos... prove a massive vote scandal... a midnight raid on a convoy of the Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu led to the recovery of Rs 180 lakh in 500 rupee notes.”
Calling it a black day for democracy, Surjewala said, “Cash was transported in certain vehicles parked at the Siang guest house at Pasighat in Arunachal Pradesh. Five vehicles were searched on the complaint of members of the Youth Congress.”
He said that the cash was being counted in the presence of Election Commission’s Expenditure officer Smrita Kaur Gill and DC Pasighat Kinny Singh and various police officers immediately after the raids.
Raising questions about the recovered money, Surjewala asked, “Was this part of the Rs 80 lakh crore black money that the PM had promised to bring back within 100 days of assuming power?”
Raising questions regarding the origin of the recovered money, he asked whether the cash was to be used for the PM’s rally and to influence the people.
He questioned whether the PM had knowledge and had concurred in trying to influence the people in coming to the rally and supporting the BJP.
Citing the People’s Representation Act, 1951, he said that a case should be registered against the PM, the Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Pema Khandu and deputy chief minister as well as the state BJP chief Tapir Gao.
Demanding the immediate sacking of the Arunachal chief minister, Surjewala also called for the cancellation of the candidature of BJP candidate and state party chief Tapir Gao from West Arunachal seat.