Unusual cash seizure in Income-Tax raids on Odisha Distillery Group.
Unusual cash seizure in Income-Tax raids on Odisha Distillery Group.

In a recent development, the income-tax department’s ongoing searches against the Odisha-based Boudh Distillery Private Limited and its affiliated entities have led to the recovery of an astonishing amount of unaccounted cash. As of now, over ₹300 crore in cash has been retrieved, with official sources anticipating the total recovered amount to reach approximately ₹250 crore.

Slow Progress Amidst Machine Limitations

The tax department, employing about three dozen counting machines, faces challenges due to its limited capacity, causing a slower counting process. Despite these obstacles, officials anticipate the total recovered amount to reach approximately Rs 290 crore, setting a new record in the history of income tax raids.

Premises Linked to Congress MP under Scrutiny

The searches, extending to premises associated with Dhiraj Prasad Sahu, a Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand, have added a political dimension to the unfolding events. An email seeking a response from the distillery group remained unanswered, and efforts to obtain comments from Mr Sahu have proven unsuccessful.

Cash Stash Unveiled Across Multiple Locations

Official sources disclosed that the seized cash, primarily in Rs 500 denominations, was found stashed in almirahs at a location in Balangir district linked to the distillery group. Additional sums were discovered at various locations across Odisha, including Sambalpur and Sundargarh, as well as in Bokaro and Ranchi in Jharkhand and Kolkata.

Political Backlash and Allegations

Prime Minister Narendra Modi seized the opportunity to criticize the opposition party, emphasizing the importance of returning unlawfully obtained funds to the people. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has staged protests, with BJP MP Nishikant Dubey accusing the Congress of hollowing out the country’s economy.

Record-Breaking Operation and Ongoing Counting Challenges

The income tax raids, spanning three states, have resulted in a staggering Rs 353 crore cash seizure in just five days, marking a historic achievement for the Income Tax Department. However, the counting process faced frequent machine breakdowns, prompting the deployment of over 40 large and small counting machines, additional personnel, and more vehicles for the transportation of seized cash.

Intensification of Raids and Investigation

As the counting continued, the Income Tax teams seized additional cash from Dheeraj Sahu’s premises in Ranchi and from Bunty Sahu, a figure responsible for maintaining liquor factories in the areas subject to the raids. Efforts to uncover the involvement of state excise officials are underway following the discovery of a polythene packet containing Rs 5 lakh with the name ‘Inspector Tiwari.’

Political Fallout and Allegations

The raids have intensified political tensions, with the BJP demanding the arrest of Congress MP Sahu and calling for the intervention of central probe agencies. The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) has defended Sahu, dismissing the BJP’s stance and terming the Income Tax actions as routine exercises.

The ongoing income tax raids in Odisha against a distillery group have not only resulted in an unprecedented cash seizure but also triggered a political storm. With records broken and counting challenges persisting, the investigation reveals the complex interplay between economic activities, political affiliations, and allegations of corruption. As the counting process nears completion, the ramifications of these raids are poised to shape the political landscape in the region.


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