A sum of Rs 8 crore belonging to the Telangana BJP that was seized by the Hyderabad police recently, was officially withdrawn from the party’s bank account, the Income Tax Department has said, giving a clean chit to the party. With no FIR filed as yet, the police are planning to seek legal opinion on whether the cash seizure can be treated as a violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
The cash was seized under the Narayanguda police station limits on April 8 just four days before Lok Sabha polls in the state. The money was in Rs 2000 and Rs 500 denominations.
“On verification of the statement recorded from seven persons and the sworn statement of bank officials and the BJP office letter and bank account statement of the party and copy of cheques, it was found that cash of Rs 8 crore was withdrawn from the bank account of the state BJP in the Narayanguda branch of Indian Bank using cheque number 059198 on April 8,” said B Srinivasa Rao, the Income Tax Deputy Director of Investigation, in a communication sent to the Narayanaguda police station inspector.
He added, “The records of cash withdrawal as per bank information matches with the demonetisation mentioned in the police seizure report.” This was first reported by U Sudhakar Reddy, reporter with the Times of India.
Soon after the cash was seized, allegations were made by the TRS that the money was meant for distribution in the Secunderabad Lok Sabha constituency. The BJP candidate for the said seat, G Kishan Reddy, and his party refuted these allegations. The party claimed that the money was meant for paying off dues to various firms and individuals.
The seized cash was to be handed over to the Income Tax department by the police, but the IT department refused on the ground that they “did not have the place” to keep it.
So far, no FIR has been registered in the case, the Central Zone DCP, P Vishwaprasad told The Deccan Chronicle.
The police are raising questions as to how a political party was allowed to withdraw such huge sums of money from a bank, when the MCC was in place,. Police are also questioning the need of Rs 8 crore for a candidate, while the spending limit for a Lok Sabha candidate is upto Rs 70 Lakh.