Arunachal Pradesh BJP leaders claim ₹1.8 Crore seized by EC as ‘personal’
With BJP leaders in Arunachal claiming cash worth ₹1.8 Crore seized by EC as their ‘personal’ money’, it is clear that Prime Minister’s Digital India and ‘less cash economy’ have eluded the state
Local newspapers in Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday quoted eyewitness accounts saying that there was more cash than what was seized by EC at the Siang Guesthouse in Pasighat on Tuesday night.
Three more boxes were taken away by ‘staffers’ after Congress workers alerted the Expenditure Observer and demanded that the vehicles in the convoy of the chief minister be searched for cash, reported the Echo of Arunachal.
While BJP leaders claimed the cash, they is no explanation why they were carrying such a huge amount in cash, ostensibly to seal a property deal on Sunday.
The chief minister, Pema Khandu, BJP’s Arunachal East Lok Sabha candidate Tapir Gao and BJP’s Mebo candidate Dr Dangi Perme had arrived at the guesthouse on Tuesday evening for night halt before the PM’s rally on Wednesday morning, when a EC flying squad was alerted.
The Flying Squad stationed at Pasighat acting on a tip-off recovered the cash of ₹1.80 crore from two parked vehicles – one, bearing registration number AR-09B 3797 (Scorpio) and another white coloured Fortuner bearing Regn No. AR-01K 0009 - at the premises of Siang Guest House, Pasighat. The total ‘unaccounted’ cash seized in the state since the Model Code of Conduct came into force has gone up to ₹5.5 Crore.
EC officials were quoted by the ‘Echo of Arunachal’ on Thursday as saying that as per information available, ₹1 crore was found from the vehicle (AR-09B 3797) owned by BJP candidate from Mebo constituency Dangi Perme’s son Christopher Perme and the remaining amount of ₹80 lakh from the Fortuner, which is registered under the Deputy Secretary, Transport, Govt of Arunachal Pradesh. The amount was claimed to be of ex-MLA Ralom Borang.
Borang is learnt to have written a letter to the EC claiming part of the cash. “Part of this money I borrowed from my relatives and part of it was my own. The money was kept with me to buy (a) piece of land at Mariyang, Upper Siang district, payment for which was planned to be finalised on 07.04.19,” he claimed.
Claiming ownership of both the Mahindra Scorpio vehicle and the money (₹1 crore) seized from it, Christopher Perme, son of Dr Perme, wrote “Part of the money I have earned by disposing traditional beads (valuable jewellery) to two persons sometime in the month of January 2019 and I had kept this money as I am constructing two structures (house at Ngopok and RCC at Banskota).”
“Some parts I had borrowed from my relatives for investing in some contract works undertaken by my friends,” Christopher wrote.
Explaining why he escaped from the guesthouse, the BJP candidate’s son wrote that he got scared following the commotion.