| SSP Manu Maharaaj with the cash seized from the SUV in Patna on Friday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey |
Patna, March 21: In the season of elections, cash for cattle is the new riddle for police.
The men-in-uniform today intercepted an SUV on the SP Verma Road and found a whopping Rs 24.67 lakh, which was accumulated by a firm from villagers promising them cattle in return.
One person, identified as Santosh Kaluram Paigude, a resident of Dhankauri village in Pune was arrested from the spot. The vehicle had a “press” sticker on it.
His arrest led to more investigations and the police finally arrested six persons from the office of the firm on Exhibition Road.
The police suspect that the money was to be channelled illegally for the upcoming elections.
Senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaaj said: “During interrogation, Paigude revealed that the money was that of a company called Samruddha Jeevan Multi-State Multi Purpose Co-operative Society Limited. The firm has its office on Exhibition Road.”
He added that the police had information that an SUV with loads of cash would ply towards Jamaal Road in Patna.
“Based on a tip off, a team was formed and the vehicle was intercepted on SP Verma Road. A bag containing the cash was found and the person inside the vehicle was taken into custody. He said he works for the company and it was the firm’s money,” Maharaaj said.
The police immediately followed the lead and raided the company’s office. They found five men and three women working.
“All of them were residents of Patna. When we started questioning them, the employees said they were running a scheme under which people living in districts were contacted and then requested to pay Rs 100 every month. With the money they would be given cattle of their choice. Could be a cow, a buffalo or a goat,” the SSP said.
The women employees revealed that in the past one year they had employed 25 agents, who would travel to the villages and promote the scheme. The agents would then collect Rs 100 from as many people they could lay their hands on promising them cattle.
The company had also promised that it would return double the money invested if cattle couldn’t be provided to the investors.
“None of the promises were fulfilled. None of the investors ever got cattle or the double money,” Maharaaj said.
He added that after they failed to provide cattle to anyone, the company was discreetly shutting shop.
“Paigude was running away with the accumulated cash,” he said.
When the police took him into custody, Paigude said he was a crime reporter and also flaunted a press identity card.
“But he broke down during the questioning. Since elections are round the corner, we suspect that the money was supposed to be used illegally. We have found that they had allegedly duped many in Patna, Muzaffarpur, Hajipur, Khagaria, Motihari, Sitamarhi, Chhapra, Ara, Katihar and Nawada,” the SSP said.