The AAP government’s first excise policy for Punjab has come under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate, with the central agency today conducting search and seizure operations at the residences of Excise and Taxation Commissioner Varun Roojam and Joint Commissioner Naresh Dubey.
They were involved in framing the policy of the state, wherein two companies, whose promotors/directors are named as accused in the Delhi excise policy case have also got the wholesale licences (L1) to sell liquor in the state.
It is also alleged that these persons were present at the residence of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia when the Punjab policy was framed, along with Roojam, 2004-batch IAS officer, and Dubey.
In the state excise policy, announced by the AAP government in June, the government had decided that one liquor manufacturer could give just one L1 licence. Also, the size of the groups (licensing units) had been increased manifold.
A complaint, linking the Punjab excise policy with the Delhi excise policy, was filed by BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa, before the CBI and the ED in June this year. He had alleged that the state policy was tailor-made to benefit the two companies who had already got liquor licences in Delhi.
Top functionaries in the state government have confirmed to The Tribune that no prior sanction was sought from them before the ED conducted the search and seizure operations. The ED team of eight officials had first swooped down at the Panchkula residence of Dubey to conduct the search operation at 8 am. Two of the officers then went to the residence of Roojam. The operation at the residences of the two officers lasted till late in the evening.
Search operations were also conducted at Dera Bassi on the premises of Sanjay Mahendru, a liquor wholesaler, whose name has come up in the CBI probe into the Delhi policy.
Some documents have reportedly been taken from the house of Varun Roojam. However, there was no official word from the ED on seizure from the houses of the two officers.
Sirsa filed complaint
A complaint, linking the Punjab excise policy with the Delhi excise policy, was filed by BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa, before the CBI and the ED in June this year. He had alleged that the state policy was tailor-made to benefit the two companies, which had already got liquor licences in Delhi.