Odisha cash haul set to be India's ‘highest-ever’ as I-T raids intensified. Top points
The raids on Boudh Distillery Private Limited began in Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal on Wednesday. The company is linked to Congress MP Dheeraj Sahu.
The Income Tax (I-T) Department intensified its crackdown on an Odisha-based liquor distillery group and its linked entities on Saturday, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured people that “money looted from the public will be returned”. The seizure of "unaccounted" cash after the raids against Boudh Distillery Pvt Ltd and others is expected to reach ₹290 crore, making it the "highest-ever" black money haul by any agency in a single operation, news agency PTI reported citing sources.
The raids began in Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal on Wednesday. The company is linked to Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand, Dheeraj Sahu, the I-T officials said. While Dheeraj’s son Ritesh Sahu is the managing director, his elder brother Uday Shanker Prasad is the chairman of the company that manufactures extra neutral alcohol – a primary raw material for making alcoholic beverages.
Officials said Boudh Distillery Private Limited is also a partnership firm of Baldeo Sahu & Group of Companies (based out of Boudh) that is accused of tax evasion, and was also raided by the taxmen.
Top updates on Odisha cash haul
- After recovering around ₹225 crore till Friday, the I-T officials seized another 20 bagloads of cash from the house of a countrymade liquor manufacturer in Sudapara area of Bolangir district on Saturday, PTI reported.
- More than ₹250 crore cash has been seized till now, and cash is continuously being deposited in government bank branches in Odisha. The notes are largely of the ₹500 denomination.
- The amount of money recovered from Sudapara is being counted, an official said, adding it is expected to be over ₹50 crore. I-T sleuths had on Friday taken 156 cash-loaded bags to the SBI main branch at Bolangir for counting.
- I-T director general Sanjay Bahadur, who has been camping in Bhubaneswar for the last three days, refused to divulge details on the ongoing raids.
- The tax department has deployed about 40 large and small machines to count currency notes and brought in more department and bank staffers to finish the counting process, which began on December 6 following raids against Boudh Distillery Pvt Ltd and others.
- More vehicles have also been requisitioned by the department to transport the seized cash to government banks in the state, the report added.
- PTI reported that tax sleuths were now recording the statements of various company officials and other persons involved, and the counting of cash is expected to finish by Saturday.
- The ruling Biju Janata Dal in Odisha in a statement welcomed the tax raids "Jharkhand BJP leaders are saying the seized money belongs to Congress leaders. On the other hand, Congress leaders are saying it belongs to BJP leaders. Both are blaming the other. It seems like both BJP and Congress leaders had stashed their money with this businessman," it said.
- Dheeraj Sahu, whose premises in Ranchi were also raided, did not respond to calls or messages for a comment on the matter. Both Boudh Distillery Private Limited and Baldeo Sahu & Group of Companies are yet to comment on the matter.
(With inputs from Debabrata Mohanty in Odisha and Vishal Kant in Jharkhand)
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