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Indian president's son faces probe: official

February 17, 2012

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Pratibha Patil. — File Photo

MUMBAI: The politician son of the Indian president has been asked to explain the origins of 10 million rupees ($203,000) found in a party worker's car in his constituency, an official said Friday.

The money was discovered by police during patrols in Amravati district in the western state of Maharashtra earlier this week ahead of local elections which took place on Thursday.

The district is the state assembly constituency of Raosaheb Shekhawat, son of India's president Pratibha Patil, who is a leader of the local Congress party, which rules both the state government and nationally in New Delhi.

“We want Mr Shekhawat and state ministers to explain the whole transaction,” district magistrate Rahul Ranjan Mahiwal told AFP.

“If unaccounted money was being used for the election campaign then it is clear violation of the code of conduct and we will take necessary action against the politicians,” he added.

Shekhawat is said the money was to be given to the least affluent Congress candidates to help finance their campaigns.

“I had sought funds from the state Congress committee for distribution among 87 party candidates. Accordingly, one crore rupees (10 million rupees) was sent to me,” he was quoted as saying by The Times of India newspaper.

India's President Patil, the country's first woman president, was vaulted from relative political obscurity to the largely ceremonial head of state post in 2007.

At the time, she was hit by accusations that she protected her brother in a murder probe and shielded her husband in a suicide scandal, as well as allegations of involvement in a slew of financial scams.

Although she denied all allegations of wrongdoing, her election went against tradition as presidential candidates and their families are expected in India to be free from any whiff of scandal.