JAJPUR: Income Tax (IT) officials on Thursday carried out simultaneous raids on the houses and offices of miner Sribas Jena for alleged tax evasion. Raids were conducted at Sribas' native place Saroi under Dharmasala, Dankari and Jaraka in Jajpur district besides Baramunda in Bhubaneswar, Puri, Hyderabad, New Delhi and Kolkata.
Sources said that a 40-member IT team conducted the raids at over 18 places including Sribas' crusher units in Dharmasala area, site office at Dankari, the premises of Aruni Transport, Konark Transport at Jaraka and his relative Santosh Kumar Jena's house.
Sribas, who has studied up to Class VII, was a bus helper. He joined the ruling BJD when it came to power in 2000 and allegedly started illegal mining at a morrum quarry in Saroi village in connivance with the local revenue officials.
Due to his close proximity with the local BJD leader, he even managed to get a party ticket and was elected a zilla parishad (ZP) member in 2007.
During his tenure as ZP member, he managed to get two black granite quarries at Dankari hillock under Dharmasala tehsil on lease for mining. In just three years, a total of 73 lakh cubic metre of black granite stones were raised from the quarry, which was double the permitted limit.
The excess granite was valued at Rs 59 crore, which was to be paid to the State Exchequer as a penalty. Jena, however, moved court and obtained a stay on the direction of the government to pay a fine of Rs 59 crore.
Basing on it, the IT officials conducted the raids. Jena could not be contacted for comment despite repeated attempts.