Police have reportedly seized Rs 91.5 lakh in cash from a vehicle belonging to Solapur-based Lok Mangal group, which is controlled by BJP leader and Maharashtra cooperation minister Subhash Deshmukh.
ToI reported that the cash was seized during a routine check of vehicles by a flying squad, which is carrying out such raids ahead of the municipal council polls, on Thursday. The report quoted Osmanabad collector Prashant Narnaware confirming the incident.
The Lok Mangal group staff, who was in the car, said that the cash belonged to the Lok Mangal Bank. The minister said the cash was meant for payment to workers in a sugar factory affiliated to the group controlled by him.
Meanwhile, the car has been impounded in Umarga tehsil in Osmanabad district and the seized cash has been deposited in the local treasury. ToI quoted Narnaware as saying: “We have sought clarification from the group. In addition, we have informed the income tax department and the local police. If the group justifies the cash, it will be returned. Else, legal action will be taken as per the provisions of law.”
According to reports, all the cash seized from the minister’s vehicle was in the form of now defunct Rs 1000 notes. Meanwhile, NDTV India reported the minister as saying that he has record of all the money and he is ready for probe.
“I am ready for an Income tax probe. These Rs 91.5 lakh rupees were being taken to another bank in the vehicle of a cooperative bank.”
The opposition parties, including the NCP and the Congress, have demanded the immediate removal of the minister. The Lok Mangal group has been under the scanner of Sebi for irregularities in mobilising funds for the group in past.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik alleged that maximum black money is stashed in the houses of BJP leaders. “Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis should sack Deshmukh immediately and the income tax department must search the official and residential premises of leading BJP politicians,” he said. The Congress also echoed the NCP statement.