Ahead of the bypoll to the Dubbak Assembly constituency, police on Monday seized Rs 18.67 lakh in cash from the house of BJP candidate M Raghunandan Rao’s relative in Siddipet town apparently to influence voters. Out of the seized cash, Rs 5.87 lakh was snatched away by some unidentified people in front of the house, the police said.
Before the seizure, searches were carried out at three places in the town following information that money meant for distribution to influence voters was kept in the house, said a senior police official. When the police and government officials came out of the house, over 250-strong crowd gathered in front of it and started arguing with the police.
It was at that moment, some among the crowd allegedly snatched the money, the police official said. Later, it was found that Rs 5.87 lakh had been taken away, the official said.
The police said they have video graphed the entire incident wherein some people were seen trying to push the lawmen. A case in this connection is in the process of being registered and the efforts have begun to identify the persons who snatched the money, the police said.
Byelection to the Dubbak Assembly seat is scheduled for November 3. Condemning the checks at the house, state BJP president and MP Bandi Sanjay Kumar said they were against the model code of conduct when the by-election is taking place at Dubbak.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah called Kumar and asked the latter about the incident, BJP sources said. Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy met Raghunandan Rao in Siddipet and was briefed on the episode.
A delegation of BJP leaders would meet the state Chief Electoral Officer on Tuesday, they said. Meanwhile, BJP MLC N Ramachander Rao, in a statement, termed the police raids as political vendetta.
The ruling TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samiti) party is using police out of fear of defeat, he claimed. Also, he alleged that the police did not issue any notice before conducting the raids.
Reacting to this, state Finance Minister T Harish Rao, who is leading the TRS campaign in Dubbak, dismissed the allegations, by saying the BJP was trying to gain sympathy by claiming itself to be a victim. There is no need for the TRS to trouble the BJP as the latter is fast losing public support, he said.