Surveillance squad members arrested with 2.9 kg silver in Gujarat

Five members of Election Commission's (EC) Static Surveillance Team (SST) have been arrested after 2.9 kg silver bricks worth Rs 1.70 lakh were recovered from them at Rana Syed by-pass on the outskirts of Modasa town of the district, police said on Tuesday.

The 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 yesterday to enforce EC rule of seizure of more than Rs 2.5 lakh cash in transit, to check use of black money in elections.

SSTs have been formed to check cash in transit and they have been deployed throughout the state to check the movement of cash.

"After recovery of 2.9 kg silver (bricks) valued at Rs 1.70 lakh from the squad members -- A T Patel, an engineer in Irrigation department, head constable Babubhai Bikhabhai, two police constables Rakesh Amrutlal and Dhaval Kumar and home guard Shailesh Vankar -- they have been arrested," police officials said.

The squad videographer, Rajesh Prajapati, managed to escape, they said.

According to police, the squad during checking at Rana Syed by-pass 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 5 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 officials said.

The traders in Gujarat have alleged harassment by the surveillance squad members and have already lodged a complaint with the EC in this regard.

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