ED starts probe, to treat it as part of booze scam

ED starts probe, to treat it as part of booze scam

Photo for representational purpose only

Aman Sood

Tribune News Service

Patiala, August 1

The Enforcement Directorate (ED), that has begun investigations, will treat the Majha tragedy as part of the booze scam in Punjab. A top official told The Tribune: “The ED has started collecting information about the financial transactions by those named or booked in the case.The recoveries and assets of the key accused need to be thoroughly probed.”

Initial investigation by ED officials suggests that the bootleggers may be making about Rs 1,000 crore per annum. “What is worth probing is that same individuals are booked and arrested in separate cases. No more home-made liquor, they are now packaging India-Made Foreign Liquor and Punjab Medium Liquor illegally to rake in huge profits,” a source said.

It may be recalled that ED Deputy Director Niranjan Singh had written to the Excise Department on June 15, the Patiala Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) on June 6 and again on June 12, the Mohali SSP on June 17 and the Ludhiana (Rural) Police on June 18, seeking information on “FIRs, probe reports, property details of the accused and interrogation reports of those arrested”. It is learnt that he is yet to get a response.

A senior officer said the ED was trying to ascertain the financial status of the accused. “We have gone through several FIRs. Despite the arrests, the recovery, in terms of money made by the accused, is almost negligible,” a top official said. “Till the time we nail the big fish that have minted money in this illegal liquor trade, such tragedies will continue to happen. Probe into finances is the key,” he said.


Highway dhabas raided

  • Police teams raided highways dhabas following a tip-off. At Jhilmil Dhaba on Tepla road in Banur, the police seized 200 litres of a liquid chemical. The dhaba owners fled
  • A raid at Green Dhaba led to the arrest of one person. The cops seized 200 litres of diesel
  • In Bhagaura village near Ghanaur, a police team seized 550 litres of some chemical from an illegal liquor unit, which was sealed

Pertinent questions

  • Why no action despite reports pertaining to theft of chemicals meant for manufacturing liquor
  • Despite hundreds of FIRs, why fiscal transactions by accused in illicit liquor trade not probed
  • Why police have been reluctant to share documents with the ED pertaining to the illicit trade

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