Trinamool MP stopped at airport with R57 lakh in bag

Written by Geeta Gupta | Geeta Gupta | New Delhi | Updated: Mar 25 2011, 09:20am hrs
Just over a week after the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) directed the authorities to keep a strict vigil over movement of cash in view of the upcoming elections in West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Assam and Puducherry, a Trinamool Congress MP, Kanwar Deep Singh, was stopped and questioned at the Delhi airport on Tuesday after cash adding up to R57 lakh was found in his bag.

Singh, Rajya Sabha member and owner of the Rs 10,000-crore Alchemist Group, was stopped at the general aviation lounge of Terminal 1D at the Indira Gandhi International Airport as CISF officials found a large amount of cash while scanning his bag.

He was immediately taken for questioning by officials of the Air Intelligence Wing of the Income-Tax department, which found R57 lakh in the bag, said sources.

Singh, accompanied by seven others, was on his way to Guwahati in a private jet belonging to the GMR group, which had been hired by his Alchemist Group. After being questioned for over three hours, Singh was finally allowed to leave at 6:30 pm.

When contacted, Singh told The Indian Express: It must have been a routine check, the IT department wanted to check and they did their job.

On the cash that was found in the bag, Singh said: My company officials were also travelling with me and the cash belonged to my company, it was well accounted for. The IT department got everything verified, and we were then allowed to go.

On March 14, the BCAS had issued a circular stating that the Election Commission of India has requisitioned services of Investigation Directorate of the Income Tax Department to keep strict vigil over movement of cash through all airports of the four poll-going states and a Union Territory.

The order, issued by R N Dhoke, Additional Commissioner Security (BCAS), added: Therefore, it is reiterated that passengers boarding helicopters or private planes from all airports should be subjected to security checks by authorities in the same manner as it is done for other passengers.

The BCAS has asked all agencies, including the CISF, to extend necessary co-operation to the Investigation Directorate of the Income Tax Department of these states/ UT in this regard in order to facilitate the operation of their Air Intelligence Units in all airports of poll-going states/UT.