Himansu Shekhar Rout

As the Income Tax (I-T) department stepped up its crackdown on liquor manufacturers and traders in Odisha, fresh recovery of wads of currency notes was reported from Sudapada brewery in Bolangir district on Saturday. The hard cash was found in an iron chest which was cut open with gas cutters.

Another startling clue came to the fore during the ongoing crackdown. A polygene packet containing Rs 5 lakh was found and the name ‘Inspector Tiwari’ was mentioned on the packet. People are curious about the real identity of the person, wondering if the person is a pecuniary beneficiary from the liquor makers. Why this packet was specially kept for the mystery person and what the person was doing with the liquor makers?

Another question that doing the rounds now is if the mystery person is linked to the police or excise department while the IT official is reportedly trying to ascertain the identity of the person.    

As per reports, such a huge haul of cash from the Boudh Distillery Private Limited (BDPL) which is a subsidiary of Baldeo Sahu Infra Private Limited, is said to be the biggest ever seizure even by the IT in the country. The seizure has brought the focus of the national media to Bolangir, which is famous for the migration of labourers. 

The I-T department officials had earlier recovered 20 packets of cash from Bunty’s house, the manager of the Sudapada country liquor manufacturing unit. Notably, 156 packets of cash had been seized from the brewery earlier. 
Besides, the cash seized from Titilagarh Brewery owned by Ritesh Sahu was counted as Rs 11 crore. Ajay Behera, a bank employee of Titilagarh, said that five to six cash-counting machines were used for cash, but he did not specify the amount of the cash counted.  

Cash counting ends at Sambalpur SBI

Meanwhile, the counting of cash at the Sambalpur SBI was completed in the evening, sources said, adding that Rs 37.50 crore cash was counted. Deputy general manager of the SBI, Sambalpur, Manmohan Swain earlier in the day said that around 15 more note-counting machines brought from Bhubaneswar were engaged for cash counting.

The cash seized from Dhanupali-based brewery of Baldev Sahu and Sons is being counted while cash of Rs 30 crore was counted till Friday.

Also Read: Odisha turned haven for non-Odia criminals: BJP VP Jay Panda on big cash haul  

Speaking to media, Bhagat Behera, regional manager of SBI, Bolangir, said “Cash from 102 out of 156 bags was counted. Counting of cash from 74 bags is on.”  

The counting of the cash is going on at the SBI in Bolangir. Till today, about cash worth Rs 100 crore was counted, sources said. The IT officials have engaged 50 bank employees and 25 cash counting machines. The cash seizure can run to Rs 500 crore, as several packets of cash are yet to be counted. 

20-member IT analysis team from Hyderabad joins probe

Meanwhile, a special 20-member IT analysis team from Hyderabad joined the investigation to get to the roots. IT sleuths have put three liquor makers under scanner while important documents have been seized. 
However, an I-T official refused to divulge details of the investigation.

Cash worth Rs 140 crore counted in Bolangir

Meanwhile, bank staff in Bolangir have counted cash worth Rs 140 crore packed in 106 bags on Saturday while the cash in the remaining 70 bags is yet to be counted, sources said, adding that more raids will be carried out at some other places in Bolangir. 

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  • MANARANJAN JOSHI , Ghateswar Mishra