Massive Cash Seizure in I-T Raids in Odisha triggers Political Storm

TNI Bureau: The ongoing Income Tax department raids on liquor manufacturers in Odisha, during which over Rs 200 crore, have triggered political storm with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accusing Odisha Transport Minister Tukuni Sahu of having links with a liquor manufacturer under scanner for alleged tax evasion, while the Congress claimed that the BJP government at the centre using the central agency only for political purposes.

During a press conference, BJP spokesperson Manoj Mohapatra presented a photograph purportedly showing Minister Tukuni Sahu with the liquor manufacturer from Balangir, who is currently under investigation.

Mohapatra questioned the source of the significant amount of cash allegedly possessed by the liquor trader and urged the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) to clarify the financial associations. He also called for a probe into whether the funds might have been utilized in election-related activities.

The photograph in question is reported to be from the Ravan Podi Mahotsav at Titilagarh, where the liquor manufacturer, Minister Tukuni Sahu, Balangir SP, Titilagarh Sub-Collector, and other dignitaries shared the stage.

Denying the allegations, BJD MLA Satyanarayan Pradhan dismissed them as baseless, asserting that no party leader was involved in such activities. He emphasized Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s commitment to preventing such behavior and suggested that opposition parties were merely performing their duty by making accusations.

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“I do not know anything about the photos that the BJP is showing. Some leaders might have met some businessmen during a social gathering. That does not prove anything,” added Pradhan.

The liquor manufacturer under scrutiny is associated with Baldeo Sahu & Group of Companies, a major country liquor manufacturer and selling company in western Odisha. Income Tax authorities have conducted raids on the offices and residences of individuals linked to this group, including Boudh Distillery Private Limited (BDPL), a subsidiary of Baldeo Sahu Infra Private Limited. The investigation aims to uncover any potential irregularities in the financial affairs of these entities.

Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an indirect attack on Congress saying that 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, he said.

Meanwhile, Odisha Congress MLA Suresh Routray said that the liquor manufacturer’s forefathers were Congress leader. It is more than 60 years that the Sahu family has become rich and you cannot say that the seized money belongs to the Congress party. He donates money to different people across the country including some people from Odisha.

The central government is using CBI, ED, and Income Tax Department only for political purposes, he alleged.

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