ED illicit liquor probe hits excise dept bump

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 particulars concerning the alleged multi-crore illicit liquor manufacturing rip-off that was busted lately.

Enforcement Directorate (ED) officers are learnt to have written to the excise authorities on June 15, in search of particulars of all raids and arrests associated to the rip-off over the previous two years. An alleged political-excise nexus is alleged to be behind the illegal follow that induced heavy losses to the exchequer.

A Venu Prasad, Principal Secretary, Excise and Taxation, stated he was but to obtain the ED letter and would test with the officers involved in his division. “We will look into the matter and respond as per rules,” he stated.

Prior to this, the ED authorities had despatched letters to the Patiala Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) on June 6 and once more on June 12, to the Mohali SSP on June 17 and the Ludhiana (rural) police on June 18, stated sources. The letters sought info on “FIRs, probe reports, property details of accused and interrogation reports of those arrested in related cases”.

Nothing has been shared up to now by the three police districts, stated an ED official.

Interestingly, ED Deputy Director Niranjan Singh himself met senior police officers to hunt information pertaining to the seizure of illicit liquor and manufacturing items, however 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 advised The Tribune.

12 FIRs below lens

The ED is conducting a probe below the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. It is wanting into not less than 12 FIRs registered at varied police stations in Patiala, Mohali and Ludhiana.

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