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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Rot in bureaucracy: Now, Indian Telecommunication Service officer arrested in Chhattisgarh’s liquor scam

In a latest development in connection with the alleged Rs 2,000 crore liquor scam of Chhatisgarh, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday arrested Arunpati Tripathi, the special secretary of the state Excise Department.

He was produced before a Special PMLA Court, which remanded him to three days ED’s custody. Tripathi, an Indian Telecommunication Service official, is posted in the Excise Department on deputation.

Earlier, the agency had arrested Anwar Dhebar, the brother of the Mayor of Raipur Ajaz Dhebar; IAS Anil Tutej; and Nitesh Purohit and Trilok Singh Dhillon in the matter.

The ED is conducting investigation in the alleged liquor scam between 2019 to 2022 in which money was “illegally generated and siphoned off in various corrupt ways”.

According to the agency, Nitesh Purohit a close associate of Anwar Dhebar, was involved in the “handling and movement of illegally collected cash. He was transporting cash as per the instructions of Anwar Dhebar”.

“Dhillon was a prime beneficiary of proceeds of crime through a classic mode of money laundering. Dhillon has willingly and knowingly allowed his bank accounts and firms to be used for layering of large amount of proceeds of crime. Without any reasonable explanation, he has taken funds through banking channels from the FL-10A license holders falsely showing as unsecured loan and kept as FD. Dhillon has also taken kickbacks from major country liquor suppliers in the guise of business transactions and kept the money with him. The underlying business transactions shown have been found to be completely bogus,” an ED official said.

“During search operation at his (Dhillon’s) premises, illegal surveillance was mounted on ED’s operation with the help of aerial drone by unidentified persons. The ED has freezed FDs of Rs 27.5 crore in the name of his firms involved in money laundering and also seized Rs 52 lakhs of unaccounted cash,” said the official.

Further investigation is in progress.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline.)

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