ED arrests former IAS Anil Tuteja in Chhattisgarh liquor scam case | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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ED arrests former IAS Anil Tuteja in Chhattisgarh liquor scam case

ByNeeraj Chuahan
Apr 21, 2024 10:40 AM IST

In its fresh case, ED has named all those 70 accused booked by the police, including Anil Tuteja, his son Yash Tuteja, several Congress leaders, bureaucrats, and businessmen over alleged corruption worth Rs.2,000 crore

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Anil Tuteja in its fresh money laundering probe into the alleged corruption in Chhattisgarh liquor industry, people familiar with the development said on Sunday.

Enforcement Directorate (Representative Photo)
Enforcement Directorate (Representative Photo)

Tuteja and his son, Yash, were called for questioning by the agency at its Raipur office on Saturday late evening. “The former IAS officer has been arrested under the prevention of money laundering act (PMLA),” said an official who did not want to be named.

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The Supreme Court had on April 8 quashed the PMLA proceedings against Tuteja and others in the alleged liquor scam, stating that predicate offence was not established. “As there is no scheduled offence, as held in the aforesaid decision (Pavana Dibbur), there cannot be any proceeds of crime... If there are no proceeds of crime, obviously offence under Section 3 of PMLA is not made out,” a bench comprising justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan had noted.

However, as reported by HT exclusively, a day later, ED filed a fresh case in the matter based on a first information report (FIR) filed by Chhattisgarh police on January 17 in the matter.

The fresh case allows ED to re-investigate the charges.

In its fresh case, ED has named all those 70 accused booked by the police, including Anil Tuteja, his son Yash Tuteja, several Congress leaders, bureaucrats, and businessmen over alleged corruption worth Rs.2,000 crore.

The police FIR came roughly a month after the Congress was unseated in the state by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in assembly elections.

To be sure, the Chhattisgarh Police acted on the matter with the reference of ED, which sent a detailed probe report to the local police after the elections.

The controversy originally arose from allegations of corruption within Chhattisgarh’s liquor industry, implicating officials and influential functionaries. ED alleged there were irregularities between 2019 and 2022 when officials of the state-run liquor retailer, the Chhattisgarh State Marketing Corporation Limited (CSMCL), took bribes from distillers. The then Congress-led state government accused the BJP-led central government of using ED to target its leaders. The Centre defended ED’s actions as upholding the law.

After the government changed, the state police filed a fresh FIR, also naming then excise minister Kawasi Lakhma, former special secretary at the department of excise and the managing director (MD) of Chhattisgarh State Marketing Corporation Limited (CSMCL) Arun Pati Tripathi, former bureaucrat Vivek Dhandh and Congress leader Anwar Dhebar. The FIR estimated that proceeds of crime (PoC) of around Rs.2,161 crore were generated by the suspects in the alleged case.

Earlier, in its charge sheet filed in the July 2023 first week, which now stands quashed, ED alleged that Rs.776 crore of the Rs.2,161 crore collected in the Chhattisgarh liquor scam by Anwar Dhebar, the prime accused and brother of Aijaz Dhebar, went to “political executives”.

Congress leader and former state chief minister Bhupesh Baghel has said the Supreme Court ruling exposed the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s “political misuse” of federal investigative agencies. “Just before the assembly elections, ED registered a case of liquor scam and gave BJP a campaign weapon. BJP tried to defame the Congress government throughout the elections. Today, the Supreme Court’s decision has made it clear that the BJP was just spreading lies,” he wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on April 8.

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