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Tax raids find Rs 225 cr, Modi vows to return money 'looted from public'

Source: PTI
Last updated on: December 09, 2023 00:49 IST
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With the Income Tax department recovering over Rs 225 crore cash during a series of raids on an Odisha-based distillery group on charges of tax evasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday assured the people that the money looted from the public will be returned.

IMAGE: Income tax raids on a private distillery in Odisha uncovered a huge cache of currency notes. Photograph: ANI on X

Taking to X, the prime minister said, '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.'

The prime minister also tagged a Hindi newspaper where the cash recovered by the IT department was shown stacked.
Modi was apparently referring to some political leaders both in Odisha and Jharkhand.


The mobile phone of a Jharkhand MP, who allegedly has links with the liquor company, was found switched off when PTI tried to contact him. Employees in his Ranchi office said that the MP is not available.

Meanwhile, the Odisha unit of Bharatiya Janata Party at a press conference demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the episode and sought clarification from the ruling Biju Janata Dal.

BJP spokesperson Manoj Mohapatra also showed some photos of a woman minister from Odisha's western region sharing the dais with one of the liquor traders on whose premises the raids were being conducted.

The BJP spokesperson claimed that this tax evasion could not have been possible without the active support and patronage of local leaders and the state government.

"What Odisha's excise department, vigilance wing, intelligence wing and economic offence wing were doing in the state," the BJP leader asked.

BJD MLA Satyanarayan Pradhan, however, rejected BJP's allegation and claimed that Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik hates corruption and believes in transparency.

"People found guilty will certainly be punished as our CM always says law will take its own course," Pradhan said.

The ruling BJD in a statement welcomed the IT raids and said, "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."

"We welcome the raids conducted by the Income Tax Department. It seems some BJP leaders of western Odisha are connected with the recovered money and the businessman. Therefore they panicked and held a press meet. All the facts will come out after investigation," the BJD said.

Meanwhile, continuing its raids, the Income Tax department on Friday found 156 bags of cash during search for the third consecutive day at Sudapada in Bolangir district, also linked to the distillery group, officials said.

From the bags, Rs 25 crore were counted till Friday afternoon, taking the total amount recovered so far to Rs 225 crore.

"Of the 156 bags, only 7/8 were counted and the amount found was Rs 25 crore," an official said.

The raids were carried out at Sambalpur, Bolangir, Titilagarh, Boudh, Sundargarh, Rourkela and Bhubaneswar.

The company is yet to provide any reaction to the raids.

Around Rs 200 crore in cash was seized on Thursday during raids at the Bolangir office of Baldeo Sahu & Group of Companies, one of the biggest country-liquor manufacturers in western Odisha.

The raids were conducted at some houses, offices, and distillery at Sargipali in Sundargarh city on Wednesday.

The IT team also searched the corporate office of Boudh Distillery Pvt Ltd at Palasapalli in Bhubaneswar, the houses of some company officials, the company's factory and office in Boudh and the Ranisati Rice Mill.

A report from Boudh district said a large number of torn currency notes of Rs 500 denomination were found dumped near the Boudh Distillery Private Limited (BDPL) at Titirikata under Harabhanga block. Local people were surprised when they spotted huge quantities of torn currency near the boundary wall of the company.

Former IT commissioner Sarat Chandra Dash said this could be the largest cash seizure by the Income Tax department in Odisha so far.

"I have never come across recovery such a huge amount of cash in the state," Dash said.

IT department DG Sanjay Bahadur reached Bhubaneswar on Thursday and started monitoring the operations.

Though no one was yet to be arrested in this connection, the department was optimistic that some links would be established before initiating any legal action.

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