Rashmi Rekha Das

Excise sleuths recovered Rs 33 lakh from a bus passenger when he was travelling to Cuttack from Berhampur in a bus on Tuesday. According to sources, police were conducting raids at Lanjipalli when police seized the amount form the passenger who failed to give a satisfactory reply on the source of the money.

He informed the investigating sleuths that he is a gold merchant. Again he changed his statement saying he is cashew seller. Police, meanwhile, have intensified investigation to get into the root of the money.

Excise IIC, Hrudaya Chandra Samanta, said, “Ahead of Dussehra that sees a spurt in marijuana smuggling cases, our department has intensified raids by blocking roads. We seized a huge chunk of money from a passenger while checking a bus named Binapani and informed Excise Commissioner.

We handed over the accused and the seized money to Baidyanathpur inspector in-charge. His statements varied every time. Truth will come out during interrogation.”

On August 10, Excise department sleuths had recovered 20 gold biscuits and Rs 1.22 crore while searching for marijuana from three gold merchants at Lanjipalli under Baidyanathpur police limits in Ganjam district late Tuesday night.

Two gold traders of Bada Bazaar and one from Maharashtra were caught by the sleuths while they were planning to do business without paying GST. Meanwhile, police have detained the trio to extract more information from them.

According to sources, the Excise department sleuths every day block National Highway passing through Ganjam as part of their measures to curb marijuana smuggling.

Acting on a tip-off about smuggling of marijuana through the route, the Excise inspector detained a vehicle having Mumbai registration number and recovered Rs 1.22 crore from a vegetable bag and an air bag. To their utter surprise, they got 20 gold biscuits from the carrier.

Berhampur Superintendent of Police Saravana Vivek M said, “Last month a similar kind of incident had taken place in which police had seized rupees to the tune of crores. During investigation it came to fore that the accused were gold merchants. We will do investigation in this case and reveal its details shortly.”

Avinash Sahu, a resident, said, “Berhampur is business hub.  Strict action should be taken against those for tax evasion.”