Pan India

Akali Dal smells Rs 500cr AAP liquor scam in Punjab

Asserting that AAP had followed the Delhi model while framing the Punjab excise policy, he said "like in the state of Delhi, nearly the entire liquor trade was handed over to two companies".

Chandigarh: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Thursday said the party would appeal to the Punjab Governor to take action in the Rs 500-crore AAP excise scam, besides filing complaints with the CBI and the ED into kickbacks received by the party from the liquor cartel in Punjab.

Addressing the media here, Badal said “there should be a free and fair inquiry against all political leaders, including Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and MP Raghav Chadha, as well as Punjab government officials who facilitated the scam”.

Asserting that AAP had followed the Delhi model while framing the Punjab excise policy, he said “like in the state of Delhi, nearly the entire liquor trade was handed over to two companies”.

Badal said the profit margin of the two companies was doubled to facilitate a quid pro quo. “Hundreds of crores have been passed back to the AAP government in Punjab and the AAP high command in Delhi.”

Sharing details, Badal said while framing the new excise policy, the Punjab government had followed its AAP counterparts in Delhi. “It stipulated that each liquor manufacturing company would choose one licensee to sell its products in the state and that the L-1 licensee should not be a manufacturer in India or abroad. It also stated that L-1 licensees should have a turnover of least Rs 30 crore per annum and should not have any stake in the retail market in Punjab which took the Punjab liquor traders out of the race.”

He said in the case of Punjab, the profit margin of the licensee was also doubled from the earlier five per cent to 10 per cent.

Badal said the policy resulted in the handover of nearly the entire liquor trade to two companies — Brindco owned by Aman Dhall and Anant Wines which was owned by the Mehra group.

While Raghav Chadha spearheaded meetings with members of the two groups in a suite on the fifth floor of Chandigarh’s Hyatt hotel, two meetings were held at Sisodia’s residence on May 30 and June 6 which were attended by Punjab government officers, including the Financial Commissioner and the Excise Commissioner.

He said the names of the private players who were called to fix the deals were kept secret with Sisodia referring to them at Mr Mango and Mr Cucumber during the meeting with Punjab government officials.

Asserting that the twin CBI and the ED probes could only reveal the truth in the case, Badal said the movements of accused leaders and officers should be checked as well as examination of CCTV cameras at prescribed locations.

He said the kickbacks received due to doubling of the profit margin from five per cent to 10 per cent should also be probed as well as the assertion that the kickbacks received from the liquor cartel in Delhi were used to contest the Punjab elections by AAP.

Badal said now when a first information report (FIR) had been registered in the Delhi excise scam, the same should be done in case of Punjab also.

“The policy and policy makers are the same. The modus operandi to loot the state exchequer is the same.”

He said in case of Delhi after complaints about loot of the state exchequer the Lt. governor ordered the chief secretary to conduct an inquiry which came up with the findings of a quid pro quo at the top level in the Delhi government.

“The report also held that the Delhi excise policy violated excise laws and was aimed at giving undue favours to the liquor licensees at the cost of the state exchequer.”

Badal said following this a CBI inquiry was ordered into the scam and an FIR was registered against the Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and 14 others.

He said the ED had registered a separate case of money laundering also.

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