Poll-bound On Monday, the Income Tax and GST authorities raided Padampur in Odisha, only a week before the December 5 assembly by-election.
The IT department raided the Padampur road homes of three businessmen believed to be connected to the ruling BJD, while the state government’s GST department clamped down on BJP-backed shopkeepers.
Local traders in Padampur, Paikmal, and Jharabandha organized a 12-hour bandh on Tuesday to protest the GST crackdown on shopkeepers. Sunil Agarwal, the head of the BJP’s Padampur town unit, was among those whose properties were raided by the GST department.
The bandh will be held by local traders from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to Padampur Banika Sangha president Pratap Mishra.
During the bandh, all stores and business institutions will be closed. However, he stated that government and private workplaces, schools, and educational institutions are excluded from the bandh.
The IT raids were carried out at the homes of traders said to be related to the late Padampur MLA Bijay Ranjan Singh Barsha, whose death precipitated the by-election.
The BJD has selected Bariha’s daughter Barsha Singh Bariha as its candidate in Padampur, where former MLA and Odisha BJP Krushak Morcha head Pradip Purohit has mounted a strong fight. Satya Bhusan Sahu, a three-time MLA for Congress, has been fielded.
During the intense campaigning for the Padampur by-election, the BJD condemned the IT raids.
Sashi Busan Behera, senior party leader, stated, “The IT raids in advance of the by-election are unacceptable. IT had unlimited time to raid any location, but chose to do so now “.
Prithviraj Harichandan, general secretary of the BJP in Odisha, backed the searches, stating “Unfortunately, certain individuals are opposed to the IT raids. Should the investigative agency that is looking into various offenses wait till the election is over? IT conducts raids as soon as it receives proven information about anomalies.”
The IT raids were guarded by CRPF men sent in from Chhattisgarh, according to authorities.