Monday, July 15, 2024

SAD alleges Rs 500 cr excise scam in Punjab, seeks CBI & ED probe

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal demanded a free and fair inquiry against all AAP leaders including Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Member of Parliament (MP) Raghav Chadha as well as Punjab government officials who facilitated the scam.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal, on Thursday demanded a probe against the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) over an alleged Rs 500 crore excise scam in Punjab.

Addressing a Press conference, Badal said there should be a free and fair inquiry against all AAP leaders including Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Member of Parliament (MP) Raghav Chadha as well as Punjab government officials who facilitated the scam.

The SAD chief said the AAP had followed the Delhi model while framing the Punjab excise policy. “Like in Delhi, nearly the entire liquor trade was handed over to two companies in Punjab,” he said, adding, that the profit margin of the two companies was doubled to facilitate a quid pro quo. Hundreds of crores of rupees have been passed back to the AAP government in Punjab and the AAP high command in Delhi.

He further said that while framing the new excise policy, the Punjab government had followed its AAP counterparts in Delhi.

“It stipulated that each liquor manufacturing company would choose one licensee to sell its products in the state and the L-1 licensee should not be a manufacturer in India or abroad. It also stated that L 1 licensees should have a turnover of least Rs 30 crore per annum and should not have any stake in the retail market in Punjab which took the Punjab liquor traders out of the race,” he alleged.

The SAD leader further alleged that the profit margin of the licensee was also doubled from the earlier five per cent to ten per cent in the case of Punjab, which he said, resulted in the handing over of nearly the entire liquor trade to two companies – Brindco owned by Aman Dhall and Anant Wines which was owned by the Mehra group.

“While MP Raghav Chadha spearheaded meetings with members of the two groups in a suite on the fifth floor of Chandigarh’s Hyatt hotel, two meetings were held at Sisodia’s residence on 30 May and 6 June which were attended by Punjab government officers including the excise commissioner. The names of the private players who were called to fix the deals were kept secret with Sisodia referring to them at Mr Mango and Mr Cucumber during the meeting with Punjab government officials,” he added.

He demanded probes by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) to get to the truth in the case. The movements of accused leaders and officers should be checked as well as examination of CCTV cameras at prescribed locations.

Badal said the kickbacks received due to doubling of the profit margin from five per cent to ten per cent should also be probed as well as the assertion that the kickbacks received from the liquor cartel in Delhi were used to contest the Punjab elections by AAP.

Now when a FIR has been registered in the Delhi excise scam, he said the same should be done in case of Punjab also. “The policy and policy makers are the same. The modus operandi to loot the State exchequer is the same,” he added.

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