BJP minister's kin booked for distributing cash to voters, Rs 18 lakh seized

Nagpur: Police have seized nearly Rs 18 lakh from a relative of Bhandara District Guardian Minister Parinay Fuke of BJP, who is contesting from Sakoli constituency, officials said on Saturday.

An offence was registered against the minister's relative and at least four others for allegedly distributing money to voters in Sakoli, located in Bhandara district, they said.

Inspector General of Police (IGP), Nagpur Range, Mallikarjuna Prasanna confirmed that Rs 17,74,600 were seized from the minister's relative, identified as Nitin Nilkanthrao Fuke, on Friday night.

Another police official said that supporters of former MP Nana Patole, who is contesting from Sakoli seat as a Congress candidate, alleged that they found Fuke's supporters distributing money among voters in the constituency on Friday night.

"As per the complaint, the BJP supporters came in a car and distributed among voters envelopes containing cash. As Congress supporters took objection, BJP workers allegedly attacked them, which led to a clash between the two groups.

Members of both the sides suffered serious injuries in the incident and were admitted to a hospital," an official of Sakoli police station said.

On being alerted, police personnel and Election Commission staff rushed to the spot and brought the situation under control, he added.

"Police later seized 110 red-coloured envelopes containing Rs 10,50,500 cash and 106 white-coloured envelopes carrying Rs 7,24,600 from the vehicle, in which Fuke was found seated," the official said.

Both the groups later filed police complaints against each other.

Based on a complaint lodged by Tirthanand Patole, an offence was registered under IPC sections 171 (1)(b)(e) (bribery), 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon)and others against Nitin Fuke and four other supporters, police said.

Police also registered a case against Patole's supporters under IPC sections 143, 147, 148, 506 (criminal intimidation) and others.

Parinay Fuke, who is said to be close to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, is currently Minister of State for PWD, Forest and Tribal Development.

Nana Patole, who was earlier with the BJP, had quit the party and joined the Congress. He had unsuccessfully contested this year's Lok Sabha election from Nagpur against BJP's Nitin Gadkari.

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