The seizure was made during a joint raid by Nagaon Police, Income Tax cell and flying squad officials. Nagaon will go to the polls on April 18. The arrested persons have been identified as Sakil Akhtar, Jiten Goswami and Arindam Kakoty.
“Acting on a tip-off, a hotel room was raided in Nagaon’s Hoiborgaon area on Monday night. In the raid, Rs 14. 93 lakh cash was seized. The trio were later released on bail,” a source said.
A preliminary investigation has revealed that the hotel room was booked by a senior Congress leader and the trio were allegedly close aides of Congress leaders in Nagaon. “The cash was found inside envelopes carrying Congress’s symbols. The envelopes were stuffed with cash ranging from Rs 2000 to Rs 10,000,” the source added.
Reacting to the incident, BJP has accused Congress of distributing cash in areas under Nagaon parliamentary seat ahead of the polls. Congress nominee Pradyut Bordoloi said, “The money was meant for Congress’s polling agents. The money is valid and all the necessary documentation has been done for it. It’s a conspiracy to defame Congress.” Bordoloi is contesting against BJP’s Rupak Sharma.
In separate operations, Rs 12 lakh has been seized from Hojai and the city’s Athgaon area on Tuesday. Two persons were also nabbed in the operations. “The investigation directorate of income tax, NE region, has so far seized Rs 7.33 crore from the date of announcement of polls. This massive haul during in the last one month far exceeds cash seizure of Rs 1.21 crore made during the 2014 general election. It is significant that nearly 75% of the seizures have taken place in the past two weeks and include operations based on independent intelligence against moneylenders and interceptions at airports by Air Intelligence Units (AIU) across the region,” said an official statement from the directorate on Tuesday.
Principal director of the investigation directorate of income tax (NE region), Sanjay Bahadur, too, held a meeting with all the officers of the directorate to devise strategies for further tightening the election expenditure monitoring process. “The AIUs are also monitoring unscheduled and chartered private flights at all airports and income tax surveillance teams have asked state district authorities to alert them about helicopter landings in the districts. A special task force (STF) is being constituted to investigate hundreds of suspicious bank transactions involving high-value cash deposits and withdrawals,” added the statement.