Police claimed to have seized 16 cartons of liquor that was allegedly kept at the office of Congress-Samajwadi Party candidate Amarpal Sharma in Indirapuram on Friday.
Election observers, administration and police were conducting surprise checks at the election offices of various candidates a day before the district goes to polls.
Police said the 16 cartons of liquor were seized from the office of the candidate contesting from Sahibabad assembly segment on a Congress ticket. Sharma is a sitting MLA who contested for the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in the 2012 polls. He was recently shown the door by BSP on allegations of anti-party activities.
“Since Sahibabad has already been declared an expenditure sensitive constituency, several raids were conducted and 16 cartons of liquor were found in the office of Amarpal Sharma. The cartons have been seized and the candidate was also present in his office during the time. An FIR against him is also being lodged by police,” said Nidhi Kesarwani, district election officer, Ghaziabad.
Excise officials, who went to the spot for identification, said the liquor was Haryana-made. However, Sharma denied charges and refused to accept that the liquor was seized from his office at Nyay Khand.
“The administration is just trying to highlight their work. The liquor was seized from some under construction houses near my office. How I am responsible for the seizure and the liquor. It does not belong to me. I am an MLA and a responsible person. Why will I do such a work? Why will they lodge an FIR against me? It could also be because I may win the election,” Sharma said.
After his ouster from the BSP before filing of nominations, Sharma hurriedly joined the Congress and also got the ticket. The Congress is contesting this election in an alliance with the Samajwadi Party.
Sahibabad is one of the biggest assembly segments in the state with more than 8.65 lakh voters. Major portions of the segment such as Shaheed Nagar, Khoda Colony, Jhandapur and Sahibabad which have presence of vulnerable sections of the society constitute a large voter base.
It was also declared as an ‘expenditure sensitive’ segment by the Election Commission of India (ECI). For Sahibabad, the ECI has given direction to appoint a dedicated observer while in other areas one observer is deputed to look after two assembly segments. Further, unlike one assistant expenditure observer deployed for other segments, Sahibabad segment has two.
Apart from the liquor seizures made by police, the district excise department seized liquor worth nearly Rs 1.67 crore from January 4 to February 10. A total of 30,716 litres of liquor was seized with 277 cases registered and 177 people arrested till February 10.