Income Tax officials have seized unaccounted cash to the tune of over Rs 200 crore during searches at multiple premises in Odisha and Jharkhand linked to Baldeo Sahu and Group of Companies Ltd, a country-liquor manufacturing and selling firm, sources said.

According to I-T sources, the group is allegedly linked to Dhiraj Sahu, Congress' Rajya Sabha MP from Jharkhand, whose family members run the business. It’s a partnership firm of Boudh Distilleries Private Limited (BDPL) and a leading country-liquor manufacturing firm, sources said.

The raids began on Wednesday at different places in Balangir, Sundargarh, Sambalpur, and Bhubaneswar in Odisha, besides some locations in Jharkhand.

Even Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken note of the seizure of such a large amount in cash.

Posting a newspaper clipping with photos of currency notes recovered during the raids, the Prime Minister tweeted: “Countrymen should look at the pile of these notes and then listen to the honest ‘speeches’ of their leaders… Whatever has been looted from the public, every penny will have to be returned, this is Modi’s guarantee.”

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The I-T officials who conducted the raids first stumbled upon huge amounts of cash stashed in the Sudpada distillery unit in Bolangir district. The officials later took the cash in 157 bags to a nearby branch of the State Bank of India for counting.

Meanwhile, the officials have also seized huge amounts of cash 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 later taken to the SBI main branch in Sambalpur in two vans.

Similarly, a huge amount of cash was recovered from Sundargarh in Odisha, and Bokaro and Ranchi in Jharkhand.

The total seizure is reportedly estimated at over Rs 200 crore so far, and the counting is still on.

Commenting on the matter, a senior SBI official in Sambalpur said that the counting is on in two of its branches in Bolangir branch and Sambalpur following a request from the Income Tax officials.

The counting started on Thursday and may continue on Saturday as well, the official said.

When asked, Director General of the Income Tax department, Sanjay Bahadur said, “Our investigation is underway. More information can be provided by our media cell in New Delhi.”

Later in the day, during raids, a huge amount of cash was seized from the residence of the manager of the Sudpada liquor unit in Bolangir by the IT team.

(Except for the headline, this story, from a syndicated feed, has not been edited by Odishatv.in staff)