The passengers, identified as Md Jalaluddin Talukdar, Sanjay Kumar Swami, Sajan Singh, and Ram Avatar Swami

Tinsukia: The Dibrugarh police have seized new currency notes worth Rs 79 lakh allegedly from the possession of four passengers who were about to board Delhi-bound IndiGo airlines flight 6E 6772 at Dibrugarh Airport on Wednesday afternoon, in what can be called one of the biggest cash hauls in Northeast in recent times.

The Directorate of Income Tax (Investigation) had seized collectively Rs 5.84 crores between March 12 and April 8 last year from the northeastern states, almost 482 percent than cash seizure made before the Lok Sabha elections in 2014.

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The passengers, identified as Md Jalaluddin Talukdar, Sanjay Kumar Swami, Sajan Singh, and Ram Avatar Swami – were all hailing from Khonsa in Arunachal Pradesh and have been detained, police sources confirmed. According to sources, the money, mostly in 500 denominations, were packed in two cartoons. “However, it is not clear where the money came from and was headed to.”

The four accused detained by police

Khonsa, the headquarters of Tirap district, is one of the three districts in Arunachal Pradesh declared as “disturbed area” under Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, and the region is known for militant activities and drug haul cases. Sources said, prima facie it seems to be black money. “However, whether the money seized are proceeds from terror activity or drugs is something to be watched given the originating place of the carriers,” added sources.

Talking to this correspondent, superintendent of Dibrugarh police Thube Prateek Vijaykumar said, during the scanning of luggage at the airport, security agencies detected a huge amount of cash hidden in the luggage of four passengers. “The passengers, hailing from Khonsa in Arunachal Pradesh, were detained and brought to Mohanbari police outpost for interrogation.”

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“We are carrying out a preliminary investigation and looking into all possible angles including terror and drug,” Prateek said, adding, “The accused will be handed over to the Income Tax department, but before that, we are checking out criminal antecedents of each individual.”

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