Shillong, Feb. 18: An amount of Rs 13 lakh was seized from a vehicle, allegedly driven by a close relative of a Congress candidate, in West Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya late last night, just five days before elections on Saturday.
West Khasi Hills deputy commissioner S. Kharlyngdoh said members of a flying squad intercepted a car (registration number ML-05 F 0798) at Pamphyrnai, 10km east of Nongstoin, around 10.30pm.
Flying squads were formed under each police station in all the 11 districts after election was announced to keep a watch on distribution of cash, liquor and other items.
Kharlyngdoh, who is also the district election officer, said the flying squad asked the vehicle to stop but it didn’t. “This raised suspicion in the minds of the members of the flying squad, who then shouted at the driver to stop the vehicle.” After the driver stopped the vehicle, the police searched it and found Rs 13 lakh in a plastic bag, he added.
The driver, who has been identified as Banteilang Kharsyntiew of Upper New Nongstoin, was taken to Nongstoin police station where he told interrogators that the money belonged to Ford Auto Spare Parts, Upper New Nongstoin, and was to be paid to a person in Shillong. Since the person was not available, he was taking it back.
The money was withdrawn from the State Bank of India, Nongstoin branch, but the driver pleaded ignorance in this regard. He was released but the vehicle was kept in police custody.
“We have come to know that the driver is related to Kingford Kharsyntiew, Congress candidate from Rambrai-Jyrngam constituency under the district,” the deputy commissioner said, adding that it was not known yet whether the money was meant to be used in the constituency or for some other purpose. Investigations are on.
All deputy commissioners of the state had issued an order stating that anybody carrying more than Rs 50,000 — the ceiling set by the Election Commission for carrying cash by anyone during the poll process — should produce documents to show its source and end use to avoid being seized by the flying squads.
The documents include PAN card, business registration certificate, copy of bank passbook/bank statement showing withdrawal of cash, copy of cash book in case of business involving regular cash transactions and evidence for end-use of the cash like marriage invitation, hospital admission and others.