Bhubaneswar: The Income Tax (I-T) department on Monday raided the houses of three businessmen in poll-bound Padampur in Bargarh district.
According to reports, I-T officials conducted simultaneous raids at the houses of Md Sajid in Bahidarpada, Manabhanjan Sahu in Sahupada and Gajanan Agrawal in Badapada areas in Padampur sub-division.
The agency sleuths launched the raids early on Monday morning under tight security of central police forces. No one was allowed inside the houses during the raids, sources said.
Even Sajid’s advocate Prashant Mohanty was not allowed to visit him during the raid.
“I wanted to meet Sajid some work. However, they did not allow me to enter the house. We have lodged a written complaint with the Padampur police station in this matter,” Mohanty said.
The reason behind the raids is yet to be ascertained, as the I-T department has not issued any statement yet.
The raids assume significance as bypoll will be held in Padampur on December 5, and the three businessmen under I-T department scanner were supporters of late BJD MLA Bijay Ranjan Singh Bariha, whose death necessitated the by-election.
The ruling BJD has nominated Bariha’s daughter Barsha for the bypoll.
Meanwhile, the BJD and the BJP have indulged in political slugfest over the I-T raids.
Senior BJD leader and MLA Sashi Busan Behera said, “The I-T raids ahead of the by-election is not acceptable. The I-T department could have conducted the raids at any time, but unfortunately it conducted them just before the election. This has exposed BJP’s plan.”
Reacting to Behera’s statement, state BJP general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan said the bypoll is on its own way, and the I-T department is doing its own duty.
“BJD leaders should not oppose the raids on businessmen in Padampur as their party chief Naveen Patnaik has always preached that ‘law must take its own course’,” Harichandan said.