In a jaw-dropping revelation, the Income Tax department’s recent raids on the premises of Congress MP Dhiraj Sahu in Jharkhand and Odisha have uncovered a staggering Rs 351 crore in cash, marking the highest-ever single-action cash seizure by any probe agency in the country. The extensive operation, launched on December 6, targeted the Odisha-based Boudh Distillery Private Limited, linked to Sahu, on charges of tax evasion and “off-the-book” transactions. Over 100 tax officials, armed with more than 40 counting machines, meticulously combed through business, official, and residential premises, unearthing not only a massive cash hoard but also approximately 3 kg of gold ornaments.

Dhiraj Sahu

The intriguing process of cash seizure unfolds as tax officials scrutinize cash, financial documents, property papers, electronic devices, gold, and other items. The seized cash, counted in the presence of two independent witnesses, is then sealed and transported to a national bank. In this case, the eye-popping sum of Rs 351 crore found its temporary abode in Odisha’s State Bank of India, specifically in the Income Tax Department’s Provision Deposit (PD) account.

What follows next is a meticulous investigation by the IT Department’s Investigation Unit. A 60-day window is allotted to prepare an assessment report, during which the accused and suspects are given opportunities to explain their sources of income. The intricate process spans 18 months, where evidence from the probe and income proof from suspects are considered to determine the legality of the seized cash.

The tax and penalty phase ensues, with 30% deducted as tax from unaccounted cash and a hefty 60% slapped as a penalty on the illegal portion. Suspects are also required to pay interest on the overall seized amount. Once the process concludes, if suspects are entitled to a portion of the seized amount, the IT department returns it via a demand draft. Conversely, if the department is still owed money, a notice is issued to the suspects for payment.

This gripping saga of tax raids and cash seizures serves as a testament to the relentless pursuit of financial accountability, unraveling mysteries hidden in the corridors of power. As the investigation unfolds, the nation watches, curious about the fate of the cash discovery in the hands of the tax authorities.

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