Crores of new currency notes continue to tumble out of lockers and hidden locations as authorities conduct raids and searches across the country.
In a major haul, police seized Rs 10.1 crore after intercepting a vehicle in suburban Chembur in eastern Mumbai and detained three persons.
The seizure included Rs 10 crore in scrapped denomination of Rs 500, and Rs 10 lakh in 2,000 rupee banknotes, a senior official said.
Officers of Tilaknagar police station found the notes stuffed in two gunny bags after they flagged down the car on Thursday evening.
The detainees claimed to have been employed with a cooperative bank in Pune district.
"One of them is the manager in Pimpri Chinchwad branch of the Vaidyanath Urban Cooperative Bank and told the police the cash belonged to the bank, while other two claimed they are also employees of the bank," Shahaji Umap, DCP (Zone VI) said, adding "the police are verifying the record."
They claimed the vehicle was transporting notes from Ghatkopar branch of the bank to Pune, police said.
The Income Tax department seized Rs 10.8 crore cash, of which Rs 8.8 crore is in new notes, after searches on several lockers of a bank in Pune.
Officials said the searches were conducted at 15 lockers, belonging to one person, in the Parvati area branch of Bank of Maharashtra of the city on Wednesday and the seizures were effected on Thursday. The department has also found alleged irregularities in the operation of these lockers, acquired in a single name in August, which it feels is a fit case for tax evasion.
"Search on 15 lockers of the said branch of Bank of Maharashtra yielded Rs 9.85 crore (39896 notes of 2000 which is 7.97 crore and rest in mainly 100 notes). Other premises yielded another Rs 94.50 lakh of which Rs 80 lakh in new currency.
"Total seizure was 10.80 crore out which 8.8 crore was in new currency," a source in the I-T department said.
"As per bank records, two lockers were shown to be operated 12 times each, post demonetisation on different dates in November and December and all operations were found to be done by a single person who was acting as the authorised signatory," the source added.
The CCTV footage in the bank showed big bags being carried in and out by the person who operated the lockers along with other same set of people accompanying him.
The tax sleuths have brought to the notice of the bank authorities about the CCTV footage they "shows difference in time from the time shown in the bank records".
Earlier in the day, in a joint operation, Income Tax Department and Crime Branch of Vasai Police recovered Rs 1.11 crore in both old and new notes from the vehicle belonging to a Shiv Sena corporator in Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation, police said.
Searches were carried out at Dhananjay Gawade's residence as well as office at Pragati Nagar in Nalla Sopara in neighbouring Palghar district around 8.30 am, they said.
During the operation, the cash was found kept inside the vehicle parked at Gawade's residence, they added.
"Out of the Rs 1.11 crore, Rs 64.5 lakh were in scrapped notes of Rs 1,000 and Rs 500, while the remaining Rs 47 lakh were in the new Rs 2,000 bills," a police official said.
"Gawade has been taken into custody for questioning in connection with the cash," he said.
Meanwhile, replying to a query on the seizure of notes, Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray said here that the party is investigating if the seized currency is similar to that of state Co-operation Minister Subhash Deshmukh.
In another incident, around Rs 18 lakh cash was seized from two Kalyan-based businessmen, with most of it in new demonition notes, following which the duo was detained, police said.
"Acting on a tip-off, officials of Khadakpada police station intercepted a two-wheeler near a hotel at Kalyan railway station and nabbed two persons. Around Rs 18 lakh cash was recovered from their possession," said DCP (Kalyan Division-Maharashtra) Sunil Bharadwaj.
"While one man is a cloth merchant, the other owns a dairy. The cash has been handed over to the Income Tax department. We have detained the duo and sent them to the IT department for questioning," he added.
Of the cash recovered, Rs 17.44 lakh is in Rs 2,000 denomination, he added.
As per the officer, another Rs 2 lakh cash in denomination of Rs 100 and Rs 50 were also recovered from the duo.
Special Operations Group of the Jaipur police have arrested a slate factory owner in a case of alleged cheque fraud and recovered Rs 1.25 lakh in new Rs 2000 denomination from his possession.
The accused, identified as Gopal Gupta had deposited Rs 7 lakh demonetised currency in Rs 1000 and Rs 500 notes in accounts of his employees, in connivance with some bank employees, police said.
The matter came to light when mother of one such employee, Virendra Pandey approached police after he died on November 13, while undergoing medical treatment at a hospital. Pandey was admitted to the hospital on November 12.
After government's November 8 demonetisation move, accused Gopal Gupta had opened fake account in the name of his employees, including Pandey (32) at Punjab National Bank and got the cheque book issued. The accused later got the cheques signed by Pandey. Later, he withdrew the money with the help of these cheques on November 13.
In another incident, two businessmen were caught in Jaipur allegedly with Rs 35 lakh in new currency notes while they were exchanging old notes.
Following a tip off, a team of Rajasthan police's special operation group nabbed Sunil Gupta and Priyanshu Gupta in Vidhyadhar nagar area and recovered around Rs 35 lakh on Wednesday night.
"Rs 35 lakh is in new currency notes of 2000 and remaining cash is in demonetised notes of Rs 100," SP, SOG, Vikas Kumar said.
They were allegedly getting the old notes exchanged on 25 per cent commission, officials said.
Income tax department has been informed and further probe is being carried out, Kumar said.
Earlier, Deedwana police in Nagaur district of Rajasthan seized Rs 6.72 lakh of unaccounted cash from a person, including Rs 5.68 lakh in new Rs 2000 notes.
Rest of the amount is in Rs 100 and Rs 50 denomination, police had said, adding they have detained Ajit Malik after he failed to give a satisfactory answer.
On Tuesday, police had detained five persons with Rs 14 lakh new notes from the city outskirts in Bhankrota.
Another Rs 4 lakh, including 1 lakh in new Rs 2000 denomination, was recovered from three persons near Taranagar of Churu district.
In Andhra Pradesh's Krishna district, police seized Rs 17.3 lakh in Rs 2,000 denomination, allegedly meant to be exchanged for a commission, from a person.
The man, along with an accomplice, allegedly brokered a deal with some persons for exchanging the scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes for a six per cent commission, a senior police official said.
He used a police constable, his close relative working in Gudivada rural police station, as a shield for the operation. However, the persons who wanted to exchange the old currency did not turn up and Rahman started on his return journey.
During a routine check, police intercepted his vehicle at Pedaparupudi late last night and found the bundles of new Rs 2,000 notes.
"We have detained the man while a hunt is on for his accomplice. The constable in question seems ignorant of the operation as this man only wanted to use him as a shield," Gudivada Deputy Superintendent of Police Ankineedu Prasad said.
"We are now investigating from where he got such huge cash," the DSP added.
IMAGE: Cash recovered by Income Tax department from a bank locker in Pune on Wednesday. Photograph: PTI Photo