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President’s son quizzed over Rs 1 crore seizure


Amravati (Maharashtra) : Raosaheb Shekhawat, son of President Pratibha Patil and a Congress legislator in Maharashtra, was Tuesday questioned by police in connection with the seizure of Rs.10 million (over $200,000) in cash, police said.

“Yes, he had been called for investigations into the matter. Further investigations are on,” Amravati’s Police Commissioner Amitesh Kumar told IANS after the questioning got over.

Shekhawat represents Amravati in the assembly. Besides him, his lawyer Ganesh Patil and Amravati district Congress chief Vasantrao C. were also present during the interrogation, Kumar said.

Maharashtra minister Rajendra Mulak, who had been asked to be present too, could not make it, Kumar said.

Police swung into action following a directive by State Election Commissioner Neela Satyanarayan to probe the seizure on the eve of the Feb 16 polls to 10 municipal corporations including Amravati.

A Ford vehicle – containing Rs.1 crore cash in bundles of Rs.500 and Rs.100 denomination – was intercepted Feb 11 by police during night raids.

While the source of the cash consignment remained unclear, police arrested two Nagpur residents who were carrying the bundles of money.

The election panel directed the district collectorate to file a report. Notices were issued to Shekhawat and other Congress leaders to remain present Tuesday.

Rushing to his rescue, state Congress president Manikrao Thakre contended it was party funds, meant to be distributed among candidates contesting the elections.

“We wanted to distribute Rs.100,000 each to the financially weak candidates for election expenses,” Thakre said soon after the cash was seized.

Shekhawat also claimed the money was meant for distribution among 87 financially weak candidates fielded for the Amravati municipal corporation polls.

However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alleged that the money was intended to be distributed among voters to influence them.

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