A day after a vehicle belonging to Maharashtra Cooperatives minister Subhash Deshmukh's firm was found transporting Rs91.5 lakh in demonetised high-denomination currency, police in Navi Mumbai today seized Rs1 crore in demonetised Rs1,000 currency notes from a luxury car at Vashi and detained four persons in this connection.
A case has been registered at Vashi Police Station and further probe is on, police said.
''Acting on a tip-off, police laid a trap. When the car came and halted near a housing complex at Sector 28 in Vashi last evening, the police team checked the vehicle and found two bags full of currency notes of Rs 1,000 denomination,'' an official release by Navi Mumbai Police said.
The four occupants of the vehicle, Prasad R Patil (36), an estate agent from Uran in Raigad district, Harishchandra Shinde (60), builder from Kharghar in Navi Mumbai, Pramod Padle (43), property agent and Avinash Jail (31), a cloth merchant, both from Byculla in Mumbai, have been detained and are being interrogated, Inspector Ashok Rajput said.
During interrogation, the accused have reportedly said they had come to Vashi to get the old notes exchanged, but did not reveal the source of the cash and where they planned to get the notes exchanged, police stated.
''As the four persons did not provide any documentary evidence of the source of the cash, the Income Tax Department has been informed about it. Their car worth Rs10 lakh has also been seized,'' they added.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra cooperatives minister Subhash Deshmukh has accepted the possibility of 'irregularity' in cash transactions at his business group when a vehicle was caught carrying Rs91.5 lakh in demonetised currency
''There might have been some irregularity, but it was certainly not wrongdoing,'' Deshmukh told a news channel. ''I am ready to accept any action for the irregularity,'' he added.
The Election Commission had earlier in the day served notice to the minister's business group Lokmangal asking it to clarify about the huge cash within 24 hours.
''I have never used my political background for my business. In fact I've been a successful businessman even before I joined politics some 15 years ago. Transactions of such large amount are not new to my business. My family has been running the business very honestly. We pay all taxes,'' the minister said
It was alleged that the money was being transported for use in the municipal council polls.
The minister had earlier said the money was being moved to his sugar factory to pay the cane workers. ''The money was withdrawn from the Solapur headquarters of Lokmangal bank on November 5. But, it was not deposited back after the demonetisation move,'' he said.