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Political brawl begins after IT, GST raids in Odisha

As Padmapur prepares for a high-tension campaign ahead of the December 5 by-elections, the politics is heated by raids on income tax and goods and services tax (GST) in several places of Padmapur. Multiple raids were carried out by Income Tax sleuths on the residence of some businessmen closely associated with the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

Raids began on Monday in the properties associated with Md Sajid, Manabhanjan Sahu, Gajanan Agrawal and Md. Javed of Padmapur in the presence of armed CRPF jawans. They are closely associated with the BJD. The income tax team did not allow their lawyers to enter the businessmen’s residence during the raid.

On the other hand, the GST officials raided several shops in the evening, including that of the BJP president of the city of Padmapur.

According to sources, GST officials simultaneously raided at least seven shops in Padmapur, Bargarh, Paikamal and Jharbandh. They raided Jagadamba cloth store, Meenakshi Jewelery and Uddipak Indane in Padmapur, Nrusingh petrol pump and Nrusinghnath Medical Store in Paikmal, and Bikash Hardware in Jharbandh.

Padmapur Town BJP President Sunil Agrawal is the owner of Jagadamba cloth shop, BJD MLA Shashi Bhusan Behera said it is unfortunate and said such actions during the bypoll are unacceptable. “It is a plan by the BJP to hide the weakness,” he said.

“Both BJD and BJP are doing politics in the name of raids,” said Congress MLA Suresh Routray.

Senior BJP leader Prithwiraj Harichandan said, “The central bureau is doing its job according to the rules and regulations. It is not right to exempt it in the name of bypoll. Let the law take its course.”

The interim poll in the Padmapur assembly segment is necessitated by the passing of BJD MLA Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha on 3 October.

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