Two persons with seven cash bags arrested

In one of the biggest cash seizures in the country since the model code of conduct came into force, the Cyberabad police on Friday seized Rs. 8.32 crore from two persons.

On a tip-off, the Special Operations Team lay in wait at Palamakula of Shamshabad and intercepted a private bus coming from Bangalore to Hyderabad around 4.45 a.m. They found two persons – Prashanth Jitendra Suraya (32) and Darshan (22) – possessing seven travel bags.

When checked, currency bundles of Rs. 1,000 and Rs. 500 denominations valued Rs. 8.18 crore were found stuffed inside them, Cyberabad Police Commissioner C.V. Anand said at a press conference. The SOT took the two passengers into custody as they failed to explain the source of the money. Later, Rs. 14.5 lakh more was recovered from the flat of Prashanth.

During interrogation, the duo admitted that the money was being brought from Bangalore to Hyderabad as part of ‘Hawala’ transaction, illegal transfer of money by gangs to evade taxes with some commission. Suraya and Darshan are from Mumbai and were living in Hyderabad for the past four years.

They maintained that they were working for a Hawala operator. “Our operator collects Rs. 300 for one lakh as commission. We were transferring money in this fashion from one city to other for quite some time,” they said replying to queries from the media persons.

A week ago, they had brought Rs. 4 crore from Bangalore to Hyderabad and delivered to Anurag Guptha of MBS Jewellers at Basheerbagh. At the instance of Guptha, they went to Hotel Fortune in Bangalore and collected seven travel bags from a person called Vijay.

“The bags were handed over after a code word given by Guptha was uttered,” the investigators said. The duo didn’t even know how much money each bag exactly had. Details of bag-wise cash were mentioned in a blue diary found in their possession.

“Transfer of such huge some five days before polling through a bus despite police checks suggests it was meant for usage in elections. Facts will come out once Anurag Guptha is nabbed,” said Mr. Anand. The police are invoking sections of Representation of People’s Act along with relevant sections of Indian Penal Code against the duo. A hunt is on for Vijay of Bangalore and Guptha of Hyderabad.

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