Under-reporting seized cash: Kantabanji SDPO blames it on investigating officer

Balangir: Kantabanji sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) Hrusikesh Meher was previously alleged to have under-reported the cash amount seized following raid at a lodge in the locality. The senior cop clarified today that he had disclosed as was informed to him by the investigating officer (IO) concerned.

Briefing mediapersons here, Meher said, “I had not filed the case. I had reported the seized cash amount in earlier press conference as per the information provided to me by the IO in Kantabanji police station. I have been intentionally grudged and now being shown as a culprit.”

Interestingly, Meher admitted in the meanwhile during a quizzing that he has kept an additional seized cash of Rs 7 lakh with a person, who is closely known to him (the senior cop). With this, the total excess seized cash confirmed to be in the cop’s possession has reached Rs 20 lakhs.

Meher was transferred to the district police headquarters on Monday. Enquiry report of the alleged embezzlement will be submitted before departmental higher-ups, an official source said.

The disclosure of seized cash amount has become murkier after the cop’s confession.

It is pertinent to mention, a team led by SDPO Meher had raided Shree Annapurna Lodge on September 15 midnight and arrested at least seven persons belonging to Telangana for gambling. Police claimed at a presser held the next morning to have seized Rs 58,52,250 from possession of the gamblers.

The arrested brick kiln owners were residing in Room Nos-5 and 7 of the lodge. It is said that they had brought around Rs 1 crore and 7 lakh with them kept in few large bags. They had come to Balangir to employ some bonded labourers from the district, but indulged in gambling activities.

It was alleged that the police team had hidden a part of the money seized during the raid.

After the matter was alleged and media went abuzz with it, Balangir Superintendent of Police Kusalkar Nitin Dagudu directed Additional SP Suresh Nayak to conduct a probe in this regard.

In presence of local tehsildar, cash seized from the private hospitality facility was re-counted and an additional Rs 13 lakh was found from a bag kept in Kantabanji police station.

Two of SDPO Meher’s friends namely Rajesh Verma and Sishir Agarwal along with three middlemen were also questioned during the probe conducted by ASP Nayak, which is underway.

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