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Illicit liquor trade probe: ED officer meets police, VB, excise officials

The ED is conducting the probe under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and looking into at least 11 FIRs registered in various police stations in Patiala, Khanna and Ludhiana
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Vishal Rambani
PUBLISHED ON JUN 17, 2020 12:55 AM IST

Enforcement Directorate (ED) deputy director Niranjan Sing on Tuesday visited the offices of the SSP, vigilance bureau and excise department as part of the probe into the illegal liquor trade in the state.

Niranjan held closed-door meeting with SSP Mandeep Singh who shared information regarding FIRs and investigations. He also visited the vigilance bureau office, and that of excise department to collect information about the procedure of handling of extra neutral alcohol (ENA).

The ED is conducting the probe under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and looking into at least 11 FIRs registered in various police stations in Patiala, Khanna and Ludhiana. The focus of the ED probe is on financial gains as it was alleged that an illegal distillery had earned 100 crore in the last five months.

“I have collected some information and asked for official record, which the police will supply in next few days,” said Niranjan.

On specifically asked that whether ED will register its own case, Niranjan said “The ED will examine the papers and FIRs, and further collaborate it with own information, to further proceed with the case.”

On May 14, an illegal liquor bottling plant was busted in Shambu area of Ghanaur constituency in Patiala and Congress sarpanch Amrik Singh and Dipesh Kumar of Rajpura, an aide of a ruling party MLA, were booked. Dipesh, who is believed to be the kingpin of the racket, was arrested.

After two days, Extra Neutral Alcohol (ENA), a primary raw material used for making illicit liquor, was seized from a tubewell owned by Akali leader and panchayat samiti member Darshan Singh in Pabri village of Ghanaur town. An illegal distillery busted in Khanna also under the ED lens.

The opposition Shiromani Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party have already demanded a CBI probe, alleging that some ruling party leaders were complicit in the illegal trade.

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