Raipur, Feb 25 (PTI) The Chhattisgarh's Economic Offence Wing/Anti Corruption Bureau on Sunday launched raids on the premises of 13 people, including two former IAS officers and some businessmen, in connection with alleged liquor scam unearthed during the previous Congress government in the state, officials said.

The action also covered premises of a businessman in Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh, they said.

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According to ACB/ EOW officials, 70 persons, including several leaders of the Congress, and companies have been named in the FIR registered by the state agency last month in the alleged liquor scam based on a complaint by Enforcement Directorate which has also been probing the case.

The FIR was lodged under sections of Prevention of Corruption Act 1988/Amended Act 2018 and Indian Penal Code, they said.

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After receiving search warrants from a special court in Raipur for conducting searches at the premises linked to these suspects, the ACB-EOW launched raids this morning, an official statement said.

The raids covered the premises of former Chief Secretary Vivek Dhand (retired IAS officer), former Secretary of Commerce and Industry department Anil Tuteja (retired IAS officer), then commissioner of excise department Niranjan Das, Excise Officer Ashok Kumar Singh, businessman Anwar Dhebar(brother of Congress leader and Raipur Mayor Aijaz Dhebar), Arvind Singh and Siddarth Singhania in Raipur, it said.

The raids also covered premises of then special secretary of Excise department and Managing Director of Chhattsigarh State Marketing Corporation Limited Arunpati Tripathi (Indian Telecom Service officer) in Durg district, then assistant commissioner of excise department Korba Saurabh Bakshi in Korba district.

It also covered premises linked to businessman Rajendra Jaiswal of M/s Welcome Distilleries and Bhupendra Pal Singh Bhatia of M/s Bhatia Wine Merchant in Bilaspur district and Naveen Kedia of M/s Chhattisgarh Distillery Limited in Kumhari area (Durg district), the release said.

Besides, the raid was also launched at M/s Prism Hologram and Security Private Limited of Vidhu Gupta in Greater Noida Uttar Pradesh, it said.

The searches are underway, the release informed.

The ED, in its complaint to the ACB/EOW, had claimed criminal acts were committed by certain senior officials in connivance with private and influential persons for causing loss to the state government and earn illegal profits for themselves in liquor trade.

The ED had said its probe revealed that a criminal syndicate was operating in Chhattisgarh, which was extorting illegal commission in the sale of liquor and was also involved in unauthorised sale of unaccounted liquor through government liquor shops.

In July last year, the ED submitted a prosecution complaint (chargesheet) in the alleged liquor scam case in a PMLA court in Raipur in which it claimed Rs 2161 crore of corruption money was generated in the alleged 'liquor scam' that began in 2019 in Chhattisgarh and the amount should have gone to the state exchequer.

The main responsibilities of Excise Departments are to regulate the supply of liquor, ensure quality liquor to users to prevent hooch tragedies and to earn revenue for the state but the criminal syndicate led by Anil Tuteja and Anwar Dhebar had turned these objectives upside down, it had said.

This syndicate comprises senior bureaucrats of state, politicians, their associates and officials of the excise department, it said.

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