Political Firestorm Unleashed as Over Rs 350 Crore and 3 Kg Gold Seized in Odisha12th December 2023
In a startling turn of events, Odisha finds itself embroiled in a political controversy following the recovery of over Rs 350 crore in black money and 3 kg of gold from the premises of Congress MP Dhiraj Sahu by the Income Tax department.
The dramatic cash haul has triggered a war of words among the state’s political heavyweights, with the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and the Congress engaging in a heated exchange.
Protests and Accusations:
The opposition BJP staged protests at multiple locations in Odisha, leveling accusations against the Naveen Patnaik-led state government for allegedly fostering illegal liquor trade. Protesters claimed that BJD MLAs, ministers, and government officials were colluding with Jharkhand Congress MP Dhiraj Sahu, who is purportedly involved in the state’s liquor trade.
Allegations of Government Complicity:
BJP state unit president Samal accused the BJD government of providing undue support to the Sahu brothers for their country liquor business in Odisha over the past two decades. He criticized the government for not auctioning country liquor businesses and instead renewing licenses, suggesting the BJD’s responsibility for the prevalence of black money in the liquor industry.
In a swift response, the BJD defended itself, accusing the BJP of targeting the state government rather than questioning the Congress. A party spokesperson stated, “Odisha BJP leaders are doing just the opposite here. In a way, Odisha BJP leaders have pledged to somehow save the Congress on this issue.”
Meanwhile, Congress claimed that it was unjustly dragged into the controversy by both the BJD and BJP, labeling the two parties as two sides of the same coin.
National BJP Leadership:
The BJP’s national leadership, led by Union Home Minister Amit Shah and party chief JP Nadda, took aim at the Congress and opposition parties. Amit Shah ridiculed the opposition alliance for not suspending MP Dhiraj Sahu, emphasizing the magnitude of the cash seized.
Protests and Investigations:
BJP MPs, led by JP Nadda, held a protest in the Parliament Complex, asserting that the opposition party was deeply entrenched in corruption. The issue was raised in the Lok Sabha, and officials announced preparations for investigating hawala operators and shell companies allegedly involved in channeling the “illicit” funds.
As the political landscape in Odisha heats up, an interim report on the raids has been sent to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) in Delhi, indicating that further investigations are on the horizon.