The Pune rural police on Wednesday seized Rs 1.52 crore as well as 356 gm of gold ornaments worth Rs 1.58 lakh from two bags in the hold of a Mumbai-bound luxury bus. The unaccounted for money and ornaments, which were loaded into the bus at Ichalkaranji, were being sent through a courier company to a person in Crawford Market.

The police have arrested the bus driver, Anil Nehru Mule (35) of Ichalkaranji, under section 41 (1)(D) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). A police team led by senior inspector Bhausaheb Andhalkar of the local crime branch arrested Mule.

Addressing a press conference, superintendent of Pune rural police Pratap Dighavkar said the Enforcement Directorate has been informed about the haul. The case has been transferred to the income-tax (I-T) department, but the Pune rural police will continue to make parallel investigations.

Dighavkar said that on Tuesday, Andhalkar received a tip-off that some unidentified persons were going to send Rs 3 crore to Mumbai in the bus, which is owned by Sanjay Travels. At 5 am on Wednesday, the police team searched the bus at a toll post at Khed-Shivapur and found the cash in the hold. During interrogation, the driver said the bags had been kept in the bus at Ichalkaranji by one Mahesh Tripathi, the operator of Sanjay Travels in that town. Tripathi also owns a courier firm.

When the police questioned Tripathi, he revealed that some of the cash had been deposited by a jeweller, Amol Mali from Hupari in Kolhapur district. He has also revealed the name of the person to whom the cash was being sent to in Mumbai, Dighavkar said. He, however, refused to give more details, especially about who could have deposited the remaining cash.

Asked why Tripathi had not been arrested, Dighavkar said the police can only arrest the person with whom the cash has been found. “We will take further action only after investigations,” he said.

The bus driver told TOI that he was not aware about the contents of the bags. “The bags were loaded into the bus at Ichalkaranji. I was told to give them to a person in Crawford Market in Mumbai,” he said.

Meanwhile, additional director of IT Sangramsinh Gaikwad and his team have also interrogated Mule and Tripathi. An official from the I-T department, Pune, told  that the department has seized the cash recovered by the Pune rural police. “We have started our investigations. We are trying to find out who could have sent such a large amount of cash through a courier. We will check whether the person(s) had shown the cash in their bank accounts,” he said.

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September 2021