Hoskote: In a shocking incident, the Karnataka State Road Transport Road Corporation (KSRTC) officials found 699 silver lamps being smuggled in an Airavat Club Class bus.

The officials said these silver items may be smuggled to bribe voters as Assembly elections are round the corner in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

Based on a tipoff, when the officials stopped and checked the bus at Hoskote on the outskirts of Bengaluru, the officials were shocked to see silver lamps covered in four gunny bags. Since no person came to claim, the case has now been transferred to the commercial tax department.

The officials said the lamps, in total, weighed 41 kilos and suspected such items likely to be distributed to voters. Since Andhra Pradesh will witness both Assembly and Lok Sabha polls together in April or May, such items and goods are likely to be smuggled from Karnataka, the officials said.

The inspection by the KSRTC officials, was carried at 1.30 AM on January 11 and stopped the bus bearing number plate KA 57 F 2884.

The driver-cum-conductor N Narayanappa was taken to task as he failed to give an explanation of Rs 15 lakh worth goods being transported to Vijayawada from Bengaluru. He was suspended.

"We will intensify the vigilance and random checks will be more on these routes. Since this is elections time, there could be a possibility that people will smuggle items from Karnataka and the culprits may opt government buses for safety purposes. To send a strong message to the drivers and conductors of the KSRTC, we have suspended him (Narayanappa) from duty, " said Prabhakar Reddy, Bengaluru division controller, KSRTC.