The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday carried out searches at three locations in Tamil Nadu's Vellore in connection with the cash for votes case during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections that had led to cancellation of polls in this constituency, officials said.
A CBI official said that agency sleuths carried out searches at the premises of M. Dayanidhi, the then senior manager of Canara Bank, Vellore branch, and two private persons, identified as Damodaran and Srinivasan, in connection with the case.
The official said that all three have been named in the FIR registered on September 22, on the basis of "reliable information", related to the recovery of Rs 11.48 crore in newly-printed Rs 200 notes by Income Tax department on April 1, 2019 from the cement godown of Damodaran. The notes were issued from the currency chest of the Canara Bank branch.
In its FIR, the CBI alleged that Srinivasan, a relative of Damodaran, had allegedly claimed that this cash was his own and was meant for distribution to voters in Vellore constituency during the parliamentary elections scheduled on April 18, 2019.
After receiving information from tax authorities, the Election Commission had cancelled the election.
The CBI alleged that it is learnt that the cash, in the bundles of Rs 200 denomination, was obtained from Canara Bank's currency chest in exchange for other currency notes of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 denomination.
"Dayanidhi facilitated the exchange by inducing another public servant and falsifying the accounts to obtain the bundles of Rs 200 notes, abusing his official position as a public servant and violating the laid down rules and procedures of the Canara Bank," it said.
"Dayanidhi, being a public servant, in criminal conspiracy with other accused persons, committed an act of criminal misconduct by extending undue favour to other accused private persons Damodaran and Srinivasan. The currency was obtained for facilitating easy distribution of currency notes to voters in the Vellore parliamentary constituency during the parliamentary election which was to be held on April 18, 2019...," it added.
Following the cash trail, the IT men raided the houses of Srinivasan and Damodaran, recovering Rs 11.48 crore kept in small bundles with ward numbers marked against them.