Cassian Baliarsingh

The political row over the ongoing raids by the Income Tax Department across Odisha and neighbouring states and the seizure of huge amounts of cash intensified further on Saturday with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders targeting the BJD and Congress.  

The I-T sleuths continued their raids on the premises linked to Congress’ Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand, Dhiraj Prasad Sahu and recovered unaccounted cash worth over Rs 300 crore from several parts of Odisha.

Three dozen machines have been deployed by the central agency to count the seized amount. While cash amounting to Rs 200 crore, stashed in almirahs, was recovered earlier, the remaining amount was found from other locations, such as Sambalpur, Bolangir and Sundargarh in Odisha.

Reacting to the I-T raids and seizure of cash, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan expressed shock and questioned if many more politicians from Odisha were also involved in the corruption. 

Taking to his X handle, he wrote, “The news of hundreds of crores of rupees being seized in the media for a few days in Odisha has left me stunned. It is a matter of concern that such a large amount of unaccounted money has been seized simultaneously from states like Odisha by raids by central agencies. Some people from the states of Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand are reported to be related to this money.”

“What is the source of this anonymous wealth? What is the truth? Are some people of Odisha related to the seized black money? Why are some people who are flag bearers of truth and honesty silent on this matter?” Pradhan questioned.

“Now the people of the country including Odisha are relying on #ModiKiGuarantee. Corruption will not be allowed in the Modi government. Under the leadership of the Prime Minister @narendramodi. All the looted money will be recovered from the public one by one and strict action will be taken against those involved in the incident, this is Modi's guarantee,” he concluded.

Similarly, Bhubaneswar MP Aparajita Sarangi launched a scathing attack on Congress and said, “This is extremely unfortunate and I must say that this is the culture of Congress party. Congress is equal to ‘ghotala ki guarantee’. In fact, PM Modi’s government gives ‘vikas ki guarantee’ while Congress is giving ‘ghotala ki guarantee’. This is what Congress has been. If you compare the Prime Ministership period of Modi from 2014 till now to the regime prior to 2014, you will hardly find any corruption.”

“However, the entire regime of Congress was marked by too many scams. I can only say that we are opening the ‘pandoras box’. I’m sure there would be many people in Boudh, Bolangir, Sundargarh, Sambalpur and adjoining areas, who must be involved in this scam. The I-T department in the days to come will unearth more money,” she added.

Moreover, BJP’s Lekhashree Samantsinghar said, “We all know that Congress MP from Jharkhand is the mastermind behind the liquor racket. But, I suspect they were hand in glove with the ruling BJD party in Odisha. Several senior BJD leaders like Tukuni Sahu, Jogesh Singh, Niranjan Pujari, Pradip Amat, and many more are associated with this scam. So, it is clear that these people were managing and operating the entire liquor trade in Odisha." 

Meanwhile, the BJD and Congress leaders could not be contacted over the allegations.