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As I-T intensifies raids on distillery linked to Congress MP, cash haul might be ‘highest-ever’ seizure: Top Points | India News

Intensifying its crackdown on a liquor distillery group in Odisha, the Income Tax department sleuths on Saturday seized cash amounting to over Rs 50 crore in Sudapara area of Bolangir district.

With this, the seizure of “unaccounted” cash in the raids against the Boudh Distilleries Private Limited and its entities is expected to reach Rs 290 crore, making it the “highest-ever” black money haul by any agency in a single operation, PTI reported quoting sources.

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 Distilleries Private Limited and its partnership firm Baldeo Sahu and Group of Companies Ltd.

Let’s take a look at the top developments in the case:

What has happened today?

On Saturday, the I-T department sleuths seized another 20 bagloads of cash from the house of a countrymade liquor manufacturer, amounting to over Rs 50 crore, in Sudapara area of Bolangir district.

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How much money has been seized so far?

More than Rs 250 crore cash has been seized till now, with the counting still underway. On Friday, the I-T sleuths had taken 156 cash-loaded bags to the SBI main branch at Bolangir for counting.

As per PTI, almost Rs 230 crore cash was seized from about 8-10 almirahs kept on a premises of the company in Bolangir district, while the rest from locations in Titlagarh, Sambalpur and Ranchi.

Why are the properties being raided?

The searches were launched after the Income Tax Department received “actionable intelligence” of a huge amount of “out of book” sales and cash being remitted by liquor distributors, sellers and business groups.

Who is MP Dhiraj Sahu and what has the Congress said?

According to I-T sources, Baldeo Sahu and Group of Companies Ltd, having operations across Odisha’s western districts, is allegedly linked to Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand Dhiraj Sahu, whose family members run the business. Properties linked to Sahu were also covered as part of the searches.

After raiding manufacturing units and premises of stakeholders associated with Baldeo Sahu and Group of Companies, the tax agency is now mulling targeting offices and residences of all the persons linked to this group.

While, Congress MP Sahu and Jharkhand state Congress president Rajesh Thakur did not respond to calls and messages seeking a comment, state party spokesperson Rakesh Sinha said the MP’s business was very old and that his wealth did not grow overnight. “… Almost all manufacturing and sale of country liquor in Odisha is owned by Dheeraj Sahu, where transactions are in cash. They are into hospitality, transport, fisheries, liquor and various other businesses. Also, as far as we know, the I-T department has not communicated anything to him,” Sinha said.

According to sources, his businesses employ more than 1,000 people across several states.

What has the PM said about the raids?

Highlighting the raids, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had posted a newspaper clipping with photos of a large amount of currency notes allegedly recovered during the raids. Targeting the Congress, Modi wrote, “The countrymen should look at the pile of these notes and then listen to the honest ‘speeches’ of their leaders… Whatever has been looted from the public, every penny will have to be returned, this is Modi’s guarantee.”

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