THE Osmanabad district administration and the Income-Tax (I-T) department have launched a probe into the seizure of around Rs 6 crore cash from a vehicle allegedly belonging to an urban cooperative bank in Sangli. The bank is headed by the brother of a BJP MLA in Sangli. The seizure, which included Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, in the Tuljapur area of Osmanabad district on Monday is said to be the biggest after the demonetisation announcement last week.
Osmanabad district collector Prashant Narnaware told The Indian Express on Tuesday that the vehicle was heading to Sangli district from Parbhani when it was intercepted in Tuljapur by the district election squad led by election officer Sanjay Raut, tehsildar Dinesh Zample and CEO Rajeev Babune.
Narnaware said the vehicle was not accompanied by any security guard. “Besides the driver, there were two clerks in the vehicle. One of the clerks told our officials the cash belonged to an urban cooperative bank in Sangli,” he said.
District officials said they were taken aback to find Rs 6 crore cash packed in gunny bags. “The cash was handed over to Tuljapur police who handed it over to the state treasury,” said Narnaware. The I-T department as well as the district election office are investigating the matter, he said.
The cash was being transported in a Bolero. According to officials, the seized cash included 60,000 notes of Rs 100, 88,000 notes of Rs 500 and 10,000 notes of Rs 1,000. Meanwhile, at a press conference in Sangli, Ganesh Gadgil, chairman of the Sangli Urban Cooperative Bank, claimed the cash belonged to the bank. “The cash was being transported from our Parbhani and Mazalgaon branch to Sangli,” he said.
The bank, in a release, said the amount was being transported to its Sangli headquarters as nationalised and private banks refused to accept it. “Instead of keeping the huge amount in our branches, we decided to bring it to the Sangli headquarters. We had transit insurance of Rs 6 crore.”
The bank said when its vehicle was intercepted, its employees duly produced their identity cards, bank documents and details of the notes. “In the past too, such huge amounts have been brought to Sangli from Marathwada. The notes are the property of the bank, which were deposited by customers,” it said.