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‘Highest-ever’ cash seizure in a single raid: 40 Counting Machines, 100 officers deployed to count 176 bags of cash seized from premises linked to Congress MP

Rs. 250 crore was recovered from several almirahs within BDPL's Bolangir district premises, while the remaining sum of the total around Rs 300 crore was confiscated from locations across Titlagarh, Sambalpur, and Ranchi. H

The IT raid on premises linked with Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand Dheeraj Sahu which started on 6th December entered its fifth day on 10th December (Sunday). As per official information, the counting is still ongoing at the time of writing this report. The Income Tax department had counted cash worth Rs.300 crore and expected the seized money to be around Rs.350 crore, as reported by Hindustan Times. 

As per reports, from the seized money and counted so far totaling Rs. 300 crore, Rs. 250 crore was recovered from several almirahs within BDPL’s Bolangir district premises, while the remaining sum was confiscated from locations across Titlagarh, Sambalpur, and Ranchi. However, no arrests have been made so far.

The IT officials have already confirmed that the current seizure of unaccounted cash from premises linked with Congress leader in Odisha, Jharkhand and Bengal is the highest-ever made by any agency in the country against a single group and its connected entities.

According to the information, initially, over 30 officers, along with bank staff, participated in counting the confiscated money. However, to expedite the process, the IT department deployed around 40 large and small machines and brought additional department and bank personnel. It is important to note that officials aim to complete the counting of the seized cash by Sunday, leading to the deployment of extra cash-counting machines and manpower on that day.

140 bags out of the 176-cash-loaded bags seized during the raids have been counted so far, officials noted. 

Evidently, on Sunday, SBI Regional Manager, Bhagat Behera from Odisha said, “We received 176 bags and 140 of them have been counted, the rest will be counted today. Officials from 3 banks are involved in the counting process, 50 of our officials are involved. About 40 (currency counting) machines were brought here, 25 are in use and 15 are kept as backup.”

Behera added that the officials are trying to finish the counting by the end of Sunday as normal banking hours will begin from Monday and the machines will also have to be returned to the banks.

As per visuals that came out on Sunday, officials were seen counting bundles of cash that was recovered from the properties of Congress MP Dheeraj Sahu. Majority of the cash was recovered from premises linked to Boudh Distillery Private Limited in Odisha.

As per the SBI Regional Manager Behera, the counting may continue on Monday as the machines are getting overheated and facing snags. He explained, “Though we have enough machines, they are heating up due to continuous counting. As bankers, we have never used machines for hours like this. Many currency notes are sticking to each other due to mildew deposits and so we are using dryers to separate the notes that have clung together.” 

Furthermore, I-T officials added that during the raids on one of the country liquor breweries in Bolangir’s Sudapada area, they found a polythene packet containing Rs.5 lakh in currency notes and the name ‘Inspector Tiwari’ mentioned on the packet. 

On the condition of unannoymity, an official said, “We think the person may either be from the excise department or local police. We would interrogate officials from the excise department.” 

According to the I-T department officials, they had suspicions over the company’s inconsistent and low net profits between 2019 and 2021 and inflated expenses towards the purchase of mahua/other articles and suspicious other payable shown in the balance sheet. 

Furthermore, a specialised 20-member IT-analysis team from Hyderabad has also joined the investigation to examine the computer hard disk and other electronic items recovered during the raid. Investigators from the Income Tax Department have also taken statements from various company officials and other individuals related to the case.

Following the seizures, BJP launched a scathing attack on Congress party asking questions from Rahul Gandhi over these developments. However, Congress has been trying to distance itself from Dheeraj Sahu, the Congress leader who is at the centre of these IT raids and demanded an explanation from him. Meanwhile, the ruling party BJD in Odisha issued a statement welcoming these tax raids. 

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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