ED illicit liquor probe hits excise dept bump - ECAS Punjab

ED illicit liquor probe hits excise dept bump

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Aman Sood

Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 28

After the Punjab Police, it's the state Excise and Taxation Department that has refused to share with the Enforcement Directorate any details about the alleged multi-crore illicit liquor manufacturing scam that was busted recently.

Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials are learnt to have written to the excise authorities on June 15, seeking details of all raids and arrests related to the scam over the past two years. An alleged political-excise nexus is said to be behind the unlawful practice that caused heavy losses to the exchequer.

A Venu Prasad, Principal Secretary, Excise and Taxation, said he was yet to receive the ED letter and would check with the officials concerned in his department. "We will look into the matter and respond as per rules," he said.

Prior to this, the ED authorities had sent letters to the Patiala Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) on June 6 and again on June 12, to the Mohali SSP on June 17 and the Ludhiana (rural) police on June 18, said sources. The letters sought information on "FIRs, probe reports, property details of accused and interrogation reports of those arrested in related cases".

Nothing has been shared to date by the three police districts, said an ED official.

Interestingly, ED Deputy Director Niranjan Singh himself met senior police officials to seek records pertaining to the seizure of illicit liquor and manufacturing units, but to no avail. "I have heard nothing from the two departments. We need requisite information to nail the culprits and probe the financial angle," Niranjan Singh told The Tribune.

12 FIRs under lens

The ED is conducting a probe under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. It is looking into at least 12 FIRs registered at various police stations in Patiala, Mohali and Ludhiana.



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