ED makes 2nd arrest in Rs 2,000 cr liquor scam in Chhattisgarh

Ranchi : The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday arrested an accused, namely Nitesh Purohit in the Rs 2, 000 crore liquor scam in Chhattisgarh.

This is the second arrest in this case.

Purohit will be produced before a Special PMLA court later in the day. The ED is all set to seek his custodial remand.

Details on Purohit were awaited.

The ED had on Monday said Anwar Dhebar, the brother of Raipur Mayor Ajaz Dhebar, is the main kingpin in the liquor scam.

Anwar is currently in the custody of the ED. He was caught while trying to run away and escape from the backdoor of a hotel in the early hours of May 6.

The ED alleged that Anwar was the main collection agent and frontman of this syndicate. He was allegedly extorting Rs 75 per case as commission from liquor businessmen.

The ED said that its investigation has established that in order to decide the quantum of commission on the sale of country liquor, a meeting was called by Anwar in March 2019, which was attended by the liquor businessmen where the distillers were asked to pay Rs 75 per case commission against its procurement by CSMCL. In return Anwar promised to raise their landing rates proportionately. This system was agreed upon, and the syndicate started collecting a huge amount of commission on the sale of accounted liquor cases.

Each liquor case was purchased by MD CSMCL only, hence, all the data was always available and till the commission was not paid, the dues of the distillers were not cleared.

The commission was reportedly shared with a political party by Anwar. Also, this commission was paid by the distillers from the enhanced landing rate received by them.

“This was a pre-planned agreement. Hence, in a way the entire commission of PART-A has been sponsored by the Chhattisgarh state exchequer, ” the ED alleged.

“Anwar is a strongman and one of his brothers is a convicted accused in a murder case being investigated by the CBI. Anwar ran the entire syndicate on the ground as per instructions from the higher powers, ” the ED alleged in the remand paper accessed by IANS.

The ED has alleged that a criminal syndicate was operating in Chhattisgarh which indulged in the collection of bribes by controlling the government departments.

The ED has further alleged that this syndicate comprised senior state government officials, private persons and political executives.

“Anil Tuteja IAS, joint secretary in the Department of Industry and Commerce, was managing the affairs and was the kingpin of this illegal syndicate along with Anwar Dhebar. They had close proximity to the political executive and were misusing them. They were running systematic extortion and corruption, particularly in the rich excise department, ” read the ED’s documents accessed by media.

The ED sources said that the probe has established that massive corruption was taking place in the excise department and hundreds of crores of Rupees in cash was being collected from every possible point of access in a distributed hierarchical manner.

“Multiple individuals were involved in the illegal sale of alcohol in Chhattisgarh. At each stage of the illegal sale, a small percentage of the funds was taken by those involved in that stage as their payment, and the rest of the funds were sent to Anwar Dhebar, the main accused.

“The syndicate, after keeping its cut, passed on the final loot for the benefit of the political executives and for electioneering. This loot has caused a massive loss to the state exchequer and loss of central government taxes and in general loot from the local business community, ” the source said.

“Liquor is a state subject and it is the duty of the state government to regulate its demand and supply for the purpose of public health and revenue generation. As per the findings of the I-T department, large amounts of bribes were being collected by the criminal syndicate from liquor suppliers. Money was also gathered from other departments like the food department, ” the ED paper read.