In Tamil Nadu 3 containers carrying at least “Rs 570 crore cash” were stopped on Saturday by Election Commission authorities in Tiripur district of Tamil Nadu. Though the trucks have not been opened yet, the drivers claim that the cash belonged to State Bank of India and is being transported to Vijayawada.

Officials said the personnel accompanying the containers said that they were transferring Rs. 570 crore from State Bank of India in Coimbatore to its Vishakhapatnam branches, but did not have all the necessary documents and efforts were on to ascertain the veracity of their claim. Officials also added that the vehicle numbers did not match the documents, aroused suspicion.

Other than Rs 570 crore the Election Commission has so far recovered over Rs 100 crore unaccounted cash in Tamil Nadu.

Keeping in view the abuse of money power in Tamil Nadu, the Election Commission had last month also issued some special instructions to be followed by observers and members of the surveillance teams deployed in the state. The Commission had sought “stepped-up vigil” across Tamil Nadu to detect and intercept cash and other inducements being used to lure voters and ensure that a level-playing field is maintained.

It all started when the men in the cars, who claimed to be plainclothesmen from Andhra Pradesh, told the officials that they were transferring the cash from State Bank of India in Coimbatore to Visakhapatnam. Since they could not produce any document to support their claims, the vehicles were taken to the District Collectorate in Tirupur.

The flying squad of the election department, along with paramilitary forces, seized the cash early Saturday morning during a routine vehicle check on Perumanallur-Kunnathur bypass road, police said.

The containers, escorted by three cars, did not halt, but officials chased them and stopped them near Chengapalli. A check revealed the amount kept in several boxes inside the containers, they said.

Meanwhile, the city police officials contacted media persons with a request not to show the vehicle numbers in their news items as the same trucks were routinely been used for such cash transfers. Information about the vehicles could prove to be handy for extremists to easily attack the vehicles during future cash transactions, police sources said.