Bhubaneswar, Dec 10 (The Street Press India) – Income Tax officials raided a distillery group in Odisha, and they’ve found a whopping Rs 290 crore in “unaccounted” cash. This marks the biggest black money discovery in a single operation by any agency. The tax department is using 40 machines and additional staff to count the cash seized during the raids that started on December 6 at Boudh Distillery Pvt Ltd and related entities.
The Income Tax department has arranged extra vehicles to transport the seized cash to government banks. Additionally, they conducted searches at a location associated with Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand, Dhiraj Prasad Sahu.
Attempts to get a response from the MP and an email sent to the distillery group proved unsuccessful. Tax investigators are currently taking statements from company officials and other individuals involved. The cash counting is anticipated to conclude by Saturday, with an estimated total of about Rs 290 crore in unaccounted cash. As of now, over Rs 250 crore in cash has been seized, and ongoing deposits are being made in government bank branches in Odisha, primarily consisting of Rs 500 denomination notes.
This marks the highest-ever cash seizure by an agency in the country during an operation against a single group and its associated entities. Approximately Rs 230 crore in cash was found in 8-10 almirahs at a company’s premises in Bolangir district, with the remainder discovered in Titlagarh, Sambalpur, and Ranchi. The searches were initiated based on actionable intelligence about significant “out of book” sales and cash transactions by liquor distributors, sellers, and business groups.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi commented on the development, expressing on Friday, “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 ruling BJD in Odisha welcomed the tax raids in a statement. There is a political back-and-forth, with Jharkhand BJP leaders claiming the seized money belongs to Congress leaders, while Congress leaders insist it belongs to BJP leaders. The statement humorously suggests that both parties might have stashed their money with the businessman in question.