In what led to a stir among Congress workers, the Election Commission conducted searches at Congress MP and its Lok Sabha candidate Vilas Muttemwar’s premises on the Great Nag Road on Friday, a day before party president Sonia Gandhi is to address a poll rally in the city.
The search that lasted over five hours also involved Income Tax officials.
Officials said only Rs 5.70 lakh cash was found from a room in the building that houses office of VRS Infrastructure, a firm run by Muttemwar’s son.
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Even as a crowd of Congress leaders and supporters gathered at the place, Muttemwar strongly protested saying the searches were carried out at the behest of Narendra Modi and Nitin Gadkari. According to one of the officials involved in the search, they found some poll material that should not have been there since the building did not house Muttemwar’s poll office. “Some envelopes were found. An FIR will be lodged and he (Muttemwar) will have to explain the purpose of envelopes,” the official said.
The searches were conducted reportedly following some SMS alerts to the poll observers that money was in the process of being distributed by Muttemwar’s campaigners.
Asked if officials should have followed the SMS, another official said, “That’s the question. It is apparently an inexperienced response to a call. Maybe this shouldn’t have happened, but the official decided to take it seriously.”
The search team led by Assistant Returning Officer Rahul Rekhawar said, “Our process is still on and we will submit a report to the Election Commission after it is over.”