By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, December 7, 2023: In one of the biggest cash hauls in Odisha’s history, the Income Tax (I-T) department officials found cash worth over Rs 300 crore, while conducting several raids on two liquor traders in the state following allegations of tax evasion.

The massive I-T raids on multiple divisions of Boudh Distilleries Private Limited, company manufacturing liquor, also continued for the second day on Thursday. The Balangir branch of the well-known Indian liquor manufacturer and distributor Baldeo Sahu & Group of Companies in Western Odisha witnessed the seizure of over Rs 150 crores in cash. On Thursday, the massive I-T raids on various divisions of the liquor manufacturer Boudh Distilleries Private Limited began for the second day. Meanwhile, the corporate office located in Sambalpur was subjected to similar scrutiny, which resulted in an additional crucial seizure of funds of more than Rs 150 crores.

Baldeo Sahu & Group of Companies is the partnership firm of Boudh Distillery Pvt Ltd (BDPL), which was raided yesterday too.

Headquartered in Odisha, the BDPL group operates across the State. It has other business divisions like Baldeo Sahu Infra Private Limited (Fly Ash Bricks) Kwality Bottlers Private Limited (IMFL Bottling) and Kishore Prasad Bijay Prasad Beverages Private Limited (Sales & Marketing of IMFL brands).

Apart from that, the I-T department had also conducted simultaneous raids at the residences of two liquor traders at Sudapada in Bolangir town and Titilagarh town respectively from where cash was also seized.

Following the seizure, the I-T Department brought the cash bags and sacks loaded in a large truck to the State Bank of India’s Bolangir branch last night. All that money was taken inside the bank and deposited under tight security.

Searches were also conducted at the houses of two liquor barons Deepak Sahu and Sanjay Sahu of Titilagarh.

The income tax team also raided the house, office, and country liquor distillery at Sargipali in Sundargarh city yesterday. Raids were also conducted at the corporate office of Boudh Distillery Pvt Ltd at Palasapalli in Bhubaneswar, the houses of some company officials, the company’s factory and office in Boudh Ramchikata and at the Ranisati Rice Mill.

Sources said the I-T sleuths raided the residence of Ashok Kumar Agarwal, a businessman from Purunakatak for his alleged links with the company.

The Income Tax department continued its search on Thursday too with reports of raids at some liquor traders at Bolangir, two houses at Nehru Nagar in Titilagarh and Boudh.

The primary information reveals a connection between Boudh Distillery Private Limited and Baldev Sahu & Group of companies, linking the ongoing probe to previous I-T raids on the former. Further investigations extended to include the house, office, and local liquor Bhati at Sargipali, belonging to liquor merchant Rajkishore Prasad Jaiswal of Sundargarh.

The I-T teams expanded their search, targeting the Boudh Distillery Pvt Ltd’s corporate office in Palaspalli and homes of affiliated officials. Operations extended to the company’s factory and office at Boudh Rambhikta, along with the premises of Ashok Kumar Agarwal, a businessman from Boudh Puruna Cuttack, allegedly linked to the company.

Besides, Balangir and Titilagarh saw multiple liquor traders under the scanner, including the house and liquor store of wine merchants Sanjay Sahu and Deepak Sahu, where a 30-member I-T team conducted searches. The reach of the I-T operations extended beyond state borders, with teams venturing to Kolkata and Ranchi, targeting directors and managing directors of the implicated companies.

Despite these extensive actions, neither Boudh Distillery Private Limited nor any associated companies responded to the income tax raids, while I-T officials remained tight-lipped on the matter

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