In a surprise check carried out by one of the several State Election Commission-appointed flying squads, its officials recovered Rs 4.9 lakh from the Four Bungalows office of BJP candidate Dr Bharti Lavekar for Versova constituency.
An EC official said, “We have several flying squads that conduct raids, with the help of police officials, at locations they suspect could be the breeding grounds for foul play. Such raids will continue till Wednesday evening. We are also keeping a tab on the candidates and their vehicles. We check vehicles that raise suspicion.”
Besides scrutinising candidates and their vehicles, the flying squads and the local police officials are maintaining a strict vigil in slum pockets of their respective jurisdictions. This is being done to curb distribution of liquor and cash, which is rampant on the eve of elections.
Versova constituency Returning Officer Vikas Pansare said, “Our team raided the BJP candidate’s office and recovered Rs 4.9 lakh. The Amboli police have taken the cash in its custody. At the time of the raid, the candidate was not in the office.”
Senior Inspector Ramesh Khadtare from Amboli police station said, “The flying squad conducted the raid and recovered Rs 4.9 lakh from Lavekar’s office. They later informed us about the raid and handed over the cash when we visited the spot.”
Lavekar said, “The cash that was confiscated from my office on Monday night belongs to me and was withdrawn from my personal account.
The money was to be given to the organisers who had managed my rallies. The entire episode seems to be the opposition’s ploy to tarnish my image, but I have already given the police my version of the story.”