J&K excise scam: Process to frame charges against 16 accused set in motion
After a 24-year long legal battle, framing of charges against 16 accused, including a retired IAS officer and four government employees, in the Jammu and Kashmir excise scam has been set in motion, an official said on Sunday.
According to a crime branch spokesperson, the state exchequer lost around ₹3 crore due to the scam related to payment of contract bid of liquor vends allotted by the government to Kuldip Singh and Company.
The firm was supposed to deposit ₹13.23 crore in banks and treasuries of the excise department. The receipts and vouchers were to be presented before excise office, Jammu, to get the liquor permit. However, the deputy commissioner of excise, Jammu, found some discrepancies in the receipts and vouchers and sought their verification. A variation in the amount paid by the firm and that shown in vouchers presented to the excise office was found, the official said.
“The accused deposited ₹1 lakh in the bank as revenue on account of excise duties but on the vouchers they would add one more zero, making it ₹10 lakh,” the spokesperson said.
“This illegal practice continued for over a year, which caused a loss of around ₹3 crore to the excise department directly and the state exchequer indirectly,” the official added.
The allegations were proven against the accused during investigation and a chargesheet was produced in court on September 10, 1996.
Six of the accused, including two government employees and four shareholders of the company, have died since the registration of the case, the spokesperson said.
“After 24 years of battle in the court by the crime branch represented by additional public prosecutor, Jammu, the process of framing of charges has been set in motion. This case was clubbed with yet another case registered with the then vigilance organisation,” the spokesperson said.
He said additional sessions judge, Jammu, Tahir Khurshid Raina passed the order to chargesheet the accused -- retired IAS officer and shareholder of the company -- Hansraj Mangotra, his son and partner Manoj Mangotra, co-shareholders Amardeep Sharma, Kuldeep Singh, shareholders Rashpal Singh, Rameshwar Singh, Ripu Daman Sharma (chartered accountant), Ashok Agarwal, Sudershan Singh Jamwal, Thakur Shiv Ram and Moolraj, and Randeer Singh.
He said excise inspectors Narinder Sharma and Sardari Lal, senior accountant at excise office, Jammu, Surinder Singh and employee Sunil Masih Matto were also named as accused.
However, Rashpal Singh, Ashok Agarwal, Thakur Shiv Ram, Moolraj, Surinder Singh, and Sardari Lal have passed away, the spokesperson said.