April 9, 2019
Coimbatore : A group of people stopped a container truck at Aathupalam around midnight, suspecting it to be carrying cash meant for distribution in the elections.
They wanted the driver to open the container and show them its contents. When the driver Prakash and his assistant Akbar told them that it was tea powder bundles meant for exports to Spain, the mob there tried to break it open. However, police immediately reached there and asked them to disperse.
Anticipating trouble, the lorry was taken to the district collectorate after intimating the election department around 4 am. It was decided to open it in the presence of their representatives in the morning, police said.
Meanwhile, the owners of the consignment–tea powder—reached the collectorate and told the officials that it was meant for exports to Spain and showed the documents including the clearance from customs.
However, the officials said that it could be released only after verifying the load.
One of the partners, Hemant Shah, claimed that the company had sent three loads for the export purpose and two had already reached Kochi Port. If he failed to reach this container, it would result in a loss of Rs30 lakh, he said.
After prolonged checking it was confirmed that it was only tea powder and the container truck was released.
Meanwhile, police detained one Mohammed Sajith, said to be a member of Makkal Needhi Maiam, for creating trouble by spreading rumours that the truck contained heavy cash, resulting in the gathering of a mob and leading to a serious law and order problem.
The Police department also warned of strict action against those who spread such rumours, affecting the smooth conduct of elections.
The Election Commission had seized Rs 570 crore in three containers near Tirupur in May 2016 during the assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.
However, the money was returned after the authorities from SBI provided documents that the cash was part of inter-bank money transfer from Coimbatore and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.