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Police probe truck fire after claims that it carried cash

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Srinagar, Apr 22: Police on Monday launched an investigation into an incident of fire in a truck carrying scrap material in the Qazigund area of south Kashmir, following reports claiming that a large amount of cash was being transported in the vehicle to the poll-bound Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency.

Police said some burnt notes were found near the incident site and ash samples from the gutted truck have been sent for forensic tests to find the exact nature of the perished items.

The incident took place a day before Anantnag district of the Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency votes on Tuesday.

The constituency is spread over four districts of Anantnag, Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama with 16 assembly segments and the polls are being held in three phases due to security reasons.

While Anantnag district will go to polls on Tuesday, voting in Kulgam district will be on April 29. Pulwama and Shopian districts will go to polls on May 06.

"A truck carrying scarp from Srinagar to Jammu caught fire at Qazigund in Anantnag district due to unknown reasons and most of the scrap turned to ash," a police official said.

However, there were reports that some currency notes also perished in the blaze, he added.

"Some burnt notes were found near the incident site," a police spokesman said.

Police also found some money with the driver Nazir Ahmad Rather, resident of Watpora, Bandipora, and conductor Inamul Haq, also a resident of Bandipora, but it was not a huge amount, the official said.

"The matter is being investigated and we will come to know of the exact nature of substance that perished in the fire only after forensic report is received," he said.

PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who is contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Anantnag, demanded a probe into the incident.

"Alarming. Authorities must conduct a thorough investigation to ascertain how & why trucks are being used to carry cash for poll distribution. That too a day right before Anantnag votes. This is a good lesson to those who think votes can be purchased by bribes," she tweeted.

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