After finding cash of over Rs 350 crore linked to Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand, Dhiraj Sahu, Income Tax (IT) Department officials seized 40 gold biscuits, diamond-studded gold jewellery, and crucial documents from three lockers of a bank in the Titlagarh city of Balangir.
Two briefcases filled with crucial documents were found in one locker, which is currently being analysed by IT officials, while 40 gold biscuits and diamond-studded gold jewellery were found in the other two lockers. According to Jagran, this gold can be upto 3 kilograms.
Raids are underway at the residence Sushila Niketan in Ranchi, Hindustan reported. The IT Department is also taking action on the assets of Baudh Distillery Private Limited, a liquor company associated with him in Odisha.
Meanwhile, the State Excise Department has ordered the inspection of all OS shops in the state to ensure compliance with the 2023-24 excise policy's licensing conditions.
State Excise Commissioner Narsingha Bhol said that inspecting the shops and ensuring compliance with licensing conditions is their routine work. However, field officers have been instructed to complete the inspection in one week. Officers will check the registration of shops in 22 districts of the state.
Excise officers said that Baldev Sahu and Group of Companies Limited has seven shops in Jharsuguda, five in Rayagada, and four in Sambalpur district. The IT department has not ruled out the possibility of excise duty evasion.
The IT officials said, "The cash seized from Balangir cannot be solely from the liquor business because what has been seized shows extraordinary profits." Officials suspect that the cash could be for political purposes.
The IT Department has also raised suspicions about the role of hawala operators and shell companies. The department is investigating all points related to the illegal wealth confiscation.
The Regional Investigation Unit of the IT Department has sent an interim report to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on the entire case. The IT Department continued its searches on Monday at various locations in Odisha, including Balangir, Sambalpur, Rourkela, and elsewhere.
IT officials questioned Banti Sahu, in charge of the Sudapada distillery in Balangir, and Rajesh Tiwari, the manager, among others. They also questioned Aarti Sahu, the wife of Sanjay Sahu, who is in charge of the Titlagarh distillery.
Aarti Sahu provided information about the lockers at Axis Bank and Utkal Gramin Bank in Titlagarh. After obtaining this information, the Income Tax team opened these lockers during the investigation on Monday.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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