The Income Tax (I-T) authorities continued their raids on premises linked to Congress Rajya Sabha MP Dhiraj Sahu for the fourth consecutive day. The raids have been carried out in properties linked to the influential family at Ranchi, Sabalpur, Bolangir, Titilagarh, Boudh, and Sudargarh in Jharkhand, and Rourkela and Bhubaneswar in Odisha. Till Friday, over ₹220 crore has been recovered in cash during raids at places linked to the mainly Odisha-based distillery group owned by Mr. Sahu and his family.
Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel were present with the I-T team on Friday’s raid at ‘Sushila Niketan’, the family home named after Mr. Sahu’s mother, on Radium Road in Ranchi. Three bags were recovered.
On December 6, the I-T team conducted raids at the Sahu family’s ancestral home in Lohardaga, where about ₹7 crore is reported to have been recovered in cash.
“The Sahu family has a long and old association with the Congress party, with the third generation now involved in the party. At one time, during an election campaign, former Prime Minister, the late Indira Gandhi, stayed at their home in Lohardaga. Many cricketers and film stars would make a beeline to his [Mr. Dhiraj Sahu’s] residence,” senior Jharkhand politician and independent MLA from Jamshedpur Saryu Roy told The Hindu.
Mr. Sahu’s father, the late Baldev Prasad Sahu, was a freedom fighter and had received the title of ‘Rai Saheb’ for his participation in the struggle for Independence.
Mr. Dhiraj Sahu is one of six brothers. His older brother, the late Shivprasad Sahu, was a Congress MP from Ranchi twice. In 2019, his brother Gopal Sahu contested the Lok Sabha election from Hazaribagh but lost against the BJP’s Jayant Sinha, son of former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha. Another brother, Uday Sahu, is also associated with the Congress.
This is Mr. Dhiraj Sahu’s third stint in the Rajya Sabha. He contested twice from the Chatra Lok Sabha seat unsuccessfully.
“Dhiraj Sahu does not carry the surname ‘Modi’ like Nirav Modi and Lalit Modi. That’s why he is being targeted. The I-T [Department] has not issued any official statement but the Prime Minister is reacting based on paper cuttings. When the right time comes, Dhiraj Sahu will present his side as well,” Jharkhand Congress chief Rajesh Thakur said in a response to the raids.
Jharkhand BJP State president and former Chief Minister Babulal Marandhi on Friday demanded Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren’s resignation, alleging the seized money was connected to the CM.
On Saturday, former BJP State president and Rajya Sabha member Deepak Prakash also attacked the Congress. “This corruption cannot happen without the support of the [ruling] JMM (Jharkhand Mukti Morcha) government running the State. Congress and corruption have a close relationship. Whenever Congress has come to power, whether it is at the Centre or in the State, rampant corruption has taken place. Dhiraj Sahu has a close relationship with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi,” Mr. Prakash alleged.
“Without the official confirmation from I-T officials, a narrative is being set about the raid and political colour is being given. There was a time when Babulal Marandi used to work for the Sahu family. He is demanding the CM’s resignation. Then he should also ask for the PM’s resignation because Ajit Pawar and Praful Patel are with him now,” JMM general secretary and spokesperson of the party’s central committee Supriyo Bhattacharya said.