ECís surveillance squad members held for pocketing 2.9 kg of silver

Five members of Election Commission's Static Surveillance Team (SST) have been arrested after 2.9 kg silver bricks worth Rs 1.7 lakh were recovered from them at Rana Syed bypass on the outskirts of Modasa town in Sabarkantha district, police said Tuesday.

Five silver bricks, which were recovered from the SST members yesterday, were taken away by them from an employee of a Rajasthan-based trader when they were checking vehicles to enforce EC rule of seizure of more than Rs 2.5 lakh unaccounted cash in transit, to check use of black money in elections.

The five have have been suspended. "All the accused were suspended today by their respective departments," said District Collector L C Patel.

SSTs have been formed to check cash in transit and they have been deployed across the state, which goes to polls next month.

"After recovery of 2.9 kg silver (bricks) worth Rs 1.7 lakh from squad members A T Patel, an engineer in Irrigation department; head constable Babubhai Bikhabhai; constables Rakesh Amrutlal and Dhaval Kumar; and home guard Shailesh Vankar, they have been arrested," said a police officer.

Squad videographer Rajesh Prajapati managed to escape, they said.

According to police, the squad during checking at Rana Syed bypass crossing stopped a Rajasthan state transport bus and detained a person with 12.5 kg silver (15 bricks).

They let him go after forcibly taking five bricks weighing around 2.9 kg.

The person, who was coming from Banswada district in Rajasthan, was on way to deliver the consignment to a trader in Rajkot, and reportedly was not carrying documents to prove that the bullion was meant for trade purposes and was not illegal.

Later, he lodged a complaint with local intelligence branch here and narrated the entire episode. He also called his shop owner from Soorpur in Banswada district of Rajasthan, who showed papers for the consignment, police said.

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