Mrunal Manmay Dash

Income Tax officials on Wednesday recovered Rs 25 lakh cash, gold jewellery and some important documents from the house and office of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader and Block Vice Chairperson of Bhapur in Nayagarh, Benudhar Pradhan.

His wife, Savitri Pradhan is the block Chairperson.

As per reports an IT team from Bhubaneswar has been searching places linked to Pradhan including his residence at Bhapur, his construction firm (Swayam Sadashiv Constructions) at Fatehgarh and a stone crushing unit at Nimani for the last three days.

His family members and Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the construction company have been detained for questioning.

“The IT personnel have raided our registered office in Fatehgarh and the crusher unit. The banks were closed on April 1 and 2. So, we had cash in our office from the sales between March 31 and April 2. The officials have found Rs 25 lakh from the office and some jewellery,” said Sadashiv Construction’s PRO, Bharat Kumar Behera.

“We are completely cooperating in the investigation. We are ready to provide whatever document they need to support our innocence,” he added.

Meanwhile, IT raids are continuing at Muduli petrol pump and JBS crusher unit at Chadheidhara, SN crusher unit at Bichhakhandi, Punjabi crusher unit at Rahadapur, and Amit crusher unit at Dankari under Jajpur’s Dharmashala block.

Similarly, IT raids are continuing at several places linked to a big-shot sand mining business owner in Ganjam, Krupasindhu Muduli. Simultaneous raids were carried out on the residence, office and a crusher unit owned by Krupasindhu Muduli, a noted businessman of Ganjam district. It is alleged that Krupasindhu funds BJD as well as other parties.

Since most of the raided persons allegedly have BJD links, the conch party alleged that the BJP is intentionally getting the raids conducted ahead of the general elections.

BJD MP Manas Mangaraj said, “These kinds of activities start when the election nears. We have seen such kinds of raids in the past as well. However, it does not augur well for democracy.”

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) however, termed the raids by the Central agency as routine work. “IT department conducts raids 365 days a year all over the country. If they are filing their taxes by declaring all their assets, then there is nothing to fear,” said BJP State President, Manmohan Samal.

“BJD has started to fear its own shadow even,” Samal said.

(Reported By Jayendra Behera, Ghulam Gus & Harihar Chand, OTV)