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Rs 200 crore recovered in I-T raids at premises linked to Congress MP

The department officials recovered as many as 156 bags containing cash during the raid at Sudapada in Bolangir district on Friday.

NEW DELHI-  Over Rs 200 crore in cash has been recovered by the Income Tax department after it conducted raids linked to an Odisha-based distillery group in the last three days. According to reports, the Odisha-based liquor firm has links with Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand, Dhiraj Prasad Sahu. The cash has been recovered from Boudh Distillery Private Limited (BDPL) in Odisha.

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Dheeraj Sahu hails from a prominent business and political family of Jharkhand. He has been elected to the Rajya Sabha twice from the Congress.

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The department officials recovered as many as 156 bags containing cash during the raid at Sudapada in Bolangir district on Friday.

“Of the 156 bags, only 6/7 were counted and the amount found was Rs 20 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.

Highlighting the raids, Prime Minister Narendra Modi posted a newspaper clipping with photos of a large amount of currency notes allegedly recovered during the raids.

Taking a dig at Congress leaders, 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.”

IT personnel first raided BDPL on December 6 on allegations of tax evasion, and later searched the premises of Baldeo Sahu and Group of Companies, from where they claim to have recovered 156 bags of cash.

Subsequently, simultaneous raids were conducted in Titlagarh, Sambalpur, Sundargarh and Bhubaneswar in Odisha and in a few places in Jharkhand, said official sources. Properties linked to some liquor traders were also searched in Rourkela and other places.

The counting of the recovered notes up to Rs 50 crore was completed by Wednesday evening, but the process stopped due to malfunctioning of counting machines, sources said, adding that the seized cash was taken to the SBI branch in Balangir, where counting was taking place amid tight security.

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“On the request of the IT department, counting of seized cash is going on at our Balangir and Sambalpur branches. The counting that started yesterday is still going on. It may also continue till Saturday despite being a holiday. Total 14 people from our bank are engaged in counting of notes,” Manmohan Swain, deputy general manager, SBI Sambalpur, told reporters.

Stating that he is not aware about the exact amount of the seized money, Swain said the bank will deposit the money in an appropriate account on suggestions of the I-T department once the counting process is completed.

Sources said this could be the largest cash seizure in Odisha’s history.

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