DCPs comb strongroom to check if Rs 1.5-cr old notes missing

Two Deputy Commissioners of Police on Saturday  combed the CCB strongroom  where Rs 1.5 crore of demonetised currency is stored to determine whether any scrapped notes have gone missing.  

DCP  (Crime–1) Ram Nivas Sepat and DCP  (Crime–2) Jinendra Khanagavi spent the entire day sifting  through the  property forfeiture list prepared by 20 inspectors of the Central Crime Branch (CCB). The list is a ledger/register of cases and properties seized and stored in the strongroom. It contains  details of cases, the quantity and type of property seized and stored in individual safes under the custody of respective police inspectors, Khanagavi said.

While Kanagavi inspected the properties seized by two CCB squads - Fraud and Misappropriation, and Homicide and Burglary - Sepat was busy checking the properties confiscated by the CCB squads under his watch - Special Enquiry, Women and Narcotics, and Organised Crime Wing. "We are checking the total number of cases and the amount of property seized and are in the process of tallying them," Khanagavi said. "If any property is missing,  stringent action will be taken against the inspector  

The inspection came a day after Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy revealed that Rs 1.5 crore in demonetised currency had gone missing from the CCB strongroom. Interestingly, three CCB policemen attached to the  Homicide and Burglary squad  - an assistant sub-inspector and two constables  - were  suspended for robbing a BMTC conductor and a real estate agent of Rs 1 crore in demonetised currency on November 25.  

Sources privy to the probe said the policemen were part of a CCB team that had confiscated  Rs 3 crore in scrapped notes from a  Tamil-Nadu businessman. The team, however, showed only Rs 1.5 crore as being seized in the raid. The rest of the money was legalised with the policemen pocketing Rs 24 lakh in legal tender. They snatched Rs 1 crore in banned notes to make up for the shortage in the CCB strongroom. 

What's a strongroom?

Unlike strongrooms at banks where only valid cash can be stored,  the strongroom of an investigating agency is nothing but a protected area where senior in-charge police officers are given individual safes to store properties  seized  during the course of an investigation. The officers (mostly police inspectors) maintain a list of cases and the quantity of  seized properties in each safe.  

The CCB strongroom is located at its headquarters in Chamarajpet. Each investigating agency, including police stations, have strongrooms that are used for depositing seized items such as cash (both valid and demonetised),  documents, gold, silver, other valuables, electronic gadgets, drugs, firearms, lethal weapons, and evidence of different nature. Sometimes, confidential governmental documents are also stored in the strongrooms that are under CCTV surveillance. The vigilance sections of governmental agencies such as BMTC, KSRTC, Bescom, KPTCL, etc, also have strongrooms.  

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