MUMBAI, 18 Nov: After nearly a week of demonetization of old currency, Rs 91.5 lakh in cash was seized from a private vehicle of Solapur-based Lok Mangal group, which is headed by senior BJP leader and state cooperation minister Subhash Deshmukh.
The cash was recovered during a routine check of vehicles by a flying team formed for ensuring municipal council polls netted the amount on Thursday, Osmanabad collector Prashant Narnaware said.
A Lok Mangal staffer, sitting inside the car said the cash belonged to the Lok Mangal bank. However, Deshmukh claimed that it was meant for payment to workers in a sugar mill affiliated to the Lok Mangal group.
The vehicle has been impounded in Umarga tehsil in Osmanabad district, while the cash has been deposited in the local treasury.
Meanwhile, the income tax department and the local police were informed about the incident. The questioning is on with them about the cash and if the group justifies the cash, it will be returned. Else, legal action will be taken as per the provisions of law,” Narnaware said.
Opposition parties including Sharad Pawar-led NCP and congress are demanding immediate dismissal of the controversial minister for black money transactions.
Earlier also, Lok Mangal was under the scanner of Sebi for irregularities in mobilising funds for the group.
NCP spokesperson Nawab Malik lashed out on BJP, “We feel that maximum black money is stocked 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.”
Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant also dictated similar statements and said the IT department should probe into the transactions of all BJP leaders during the last six months. “It is well known that Modi’s decision to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes was leaked selectively to senior BJP leaders and leading industrial houses. Deshmukh is not the first BJP politician; last week too, a huge amount was found in a vehicle belonging to a BJP leader,” Sawant said.
In remarks that could embarrass the BJP, a senior BJP cabinet minister in Maharashtra on Friday admitted to hoarding Rs 91,50,000 in demonetised currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000.
“I had kept thinking it would come in handy during my regular business transactions. But suddenly on November 8, these notes were demonetized. I am ready to face any consequences in this regard,” Minister for Cooperatives Subhash Deshmukh told a private news channel.