Mystery deepens over the seized Rs 570 crore

Several estimates suggest that India’s black market economy easily runs into thousands of crores. Although it is too early to conclusively say that the Rs 570 crore seized by the Election Commission of India has come from the black market economy, the mystery surrounding the same has certainly deepened. Earlier, with reports that RBI has claimed ownership of the cash, it was thought the matter has been closed. However, that story has now been junked with the discovery that the submitted RBI documents regarding the cash transfer are forged. Investigations have revealed that even the trucks carrying the cash had fake registration numbers.

It all began in May, a time when political parties were busy preparing for the Assembly Elections in Tamil Nadu. Speculations were rife that many candidates were doling out cash to get votes. As a result, election commission officials were on high alert and were looking to seize any illegal cash being distributed by a candidate. In was in one such operation that the election commission officials seized 3 trucks containing a total of Rs 570 crore cash. At first, it was assumed that such a large haul of cash can mean only one thing that it was meant to be used for buying votes. However, later it was claimed that the cash belonged to RBI. Now, even this story has been debunked.

So, who really owns the cash or what is the source of such large amount of funds? According to DMK MP TKS Elangovan, who has filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court, the cash probably comes from criminal activities and may have been part of hawala transactions. In an affidavit filed by Elangovan, it has been mentioned that high level bank officials are involved and that they have prepared fake documents regarding written authorization from RBI. The affidavit further states that the culprits should be tried under relevant sections of the IPC as well as the Prevention of Corruption Act. The petition also says that RBI has not issued any directive for the cash transfer of Rs 570 crore and that such letters were prepared post the seizure of cash.

Based on the petition filed by Elangovan, the Madras High Court has directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to take up the case and file a status report within two weeks. Elangovan is quite sure about the cash being illegal, as he points out that the instance of the cash being transferred during the night and in trucks with fake registration numbers, does not conform to RBI guidelines. Elangovan has already informed the Prime Minister’s Office, CBI, Enforcement Directorate and RBI, so that the culprits could be caught and brought to justice.

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