A joint raid has been conducted by the officials of state vigilance and commercial tax departments on some miners and hotel owners who were suspected to have played back-up roles in the recent bid by some rebel BJD leaders to oust chief minister Naveen Patnaik when he was away on a official tour to London.
The team of officials raided the establishments of these businessmen in Rourkela and Barbil.
However, the officials involved in the raid played down the political angle to this exercise stating that it was a routine action following receipt of allegations of tax evasion against the accused persons.
The sleuths have started the raids since Monday. They are reported to have searched the documents and accounts of Hotel Radhika Regency and some vehicle showrooms owned by an industrialist Arun Dua.
The vigilance department focused its investigation on the hotelier after senior Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader Damodar Rout alleged that a secret meeting had taken place a couple of days before the failed coup bid at his hotel where some rebel party leaders and a couple of miners were present.
The vigilance wing also raided offices of Alhuwalia brothers, owners of mines and other steel units.
“We had information that Prashant Alhuwalia, who owns a sponge iron factory in Barbil, an iron ore mine and crusher in Koira, has evaded sales tax. So we raided their offices today in association with sales tax officers,” Manoranjan Panda, vigilance SP, Sambalpur said.
The vigilance office also raided the house of K J S Ahluwalia, the mine owner and brother of Prashant Alhuwalia and his offices in Rourkela and Barbil. It may be noted that Alhuwalia has been in dock for violation of Rule 37 of Mineral Concession Rule, 1960 which says that mine lease holders cannot sublet their mine or transfer their lease right to a third party.
The connection of miners in the failed coup bid gained prominence when Subarna Naik, MLA from mineral rich Keonjhar district alleged that some miners had arranged Rs 200 crore to fund the coup attempt initiated by suspended BJD MP, Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, to buy the MLAs and to form an alternative government.
There were even allegations that Sarada Prasad Nayak, MLA from Rourkela was present in the secret meeting in Radhika Regency.
Chief Minister Patnaik on Monday sacked Nayak, who was a minister of state for urban and housing development and excise, over his alleged links with dissident leaders.