Pradeep Pattanayak

The lion's share of the money amounting to more than Rs 351 crore seized during the recent much-talked-about I-T raids on the properties of liquor traders in Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal was unearthed in Odisha alone. 

The cash seized from obscure and dilapidated buildings, hidden chambers and hidden safe-house camouflaged as an unoccupied/nondescript residence located in small towns of Odisha like Sudapada and Titlagarh in Balangir district and Khetrajpur in Sambalpur district was Rs 329 crore. 

On December 6, the raids were first conducted and even the I-T officials were taken aback after finding such a huge amount of cash stashed in the Sudapada distillery unit in Bolangir district. The cash in 165 bags was taken to a nearby SBI branch for counting.

As many as 25 counting machines and 50 bank staff were engaged to count the seized cash. This seizure of the cash is said to be the ‘highest-ever’ in a single action conducted by any probe agency in the country. 

Also Read: After raids in western Odisha, will focus shift to 'illegal' liquor trade in Ganjam? 

On December 10, the counting of cash ended and the total value of the seized amount was reported to be around Rs 305 crore.

Later, huge amounts of cash were also seized from the country liquor manufacturing unit at Dhanupali and the office of Baldeo Sahu and Group of Companies Ltd located in Sambalpur district. The seized cash was taken to the Sambalpur SBI branch in two vans for counting. 

During the raids, unaccounted jewellery exceeding Rs 2.80 crore also was also seized.