Haryana: Opposition seeks CBI probe into liquor smuggling

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Chandigarh, Nov 6 (PTI) The Opposition parties in Haryana on Friday sought a CBI probe into alleged smuggling of liquor in the state.

Drawing attention of the House on the concluding day of the Haryana Assembly session towards the alleged smuggling of liquor in Kharkhoda in Sonipat and Samalkha of Panipat and Fatehabad during the lockdown period, INLD MLA Abhay Singh Chautala, Congress MLAs Jagbir Malik, B B Batra and some other legislators slammed the government over the issue.

Chautala alleged that the state government had failed to check the liquor mafia in the state, which he alleged, could not operate without the protection of the government.

Congress MLA Kiran Choudhary too slammed the government for not acting on the issue. Both Chautala and Choudhary demanded a CBI probe into the matter.

According to the legislators, around 10,000 cases of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and other liquor bottles were found missing during the first week of May from a godown in Kharkhoda in Sonipat.

They said similar incidents were also reported from Samalakha in Panipat and Fatehabad and Yamuna Nagar, Rewari, and Narnaul.

According to the calling attention notice, the excise department officials had issued 426 permits for COVID-19 passes for the movement of trucks on March 26, a day after the department sealed all the liquor vends and godowns.

Replying to the notice, Home minister Anil Vij said that strict action would be taken against officers, employees, contractors involved in the illicit sale of liquor as well as the liquor mafia.

Vij said that the matter came to light during lockdown and subsequently an FIR was registered in Samalkha under various sections of the IPC and the Excise Act and the prime accused in the case, Ashok Jain, was arrested for selling illicit liquor.

The home minister said to ensure thorough investigation in the case, the State Vigilance Bureau has been asked to probe it on the basis of a report submitted by the Special Enquiry Team (SET), which was constituted for cases pertaining to illicit sale of liquor. Vij said the SET has recommended disciplinary action against some officers and departmental action against others. The SET also gave information about some employees and officers of the police and excise department who were not discharging their responsibilities properly, he said. A committee has been constituted in this regard under the chairmanship of Additional Director General of Police Kala Ramchandran who will investigate the involvement of various employees and officers in the said case. Meanwhile, the Haryana Assembly also passed several Bills including the Haryana Control of Organised Crime Bill, 2020.

The bill, tabled by Vij, has been enacted to make special provisions for prevention and control of and for coping with criminal activity by organised crime syndicate or gang and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

A study of crime trends in Haryana during the last decade has revealed that the state has been witnessing a shift in the patterns of crime.

While earlier heinous crimes such as murder, dacoity, robbery, kidnapping and extortion were committed by individuals acting alone or in concert, the last decade has witnessed the rise of gangsters and organised crime, the bill said.

Gangs of new age criminals have started pursuing life in crime as a well organised criminal enterprise, it said.

The other bills passed included the Haryana Municipal (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020, the Haryana Municipal Corporation (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020, the Haryana Law Officer (Appropriation) Amendment Bill, 2020, the Haryana Public Finance Accountability (Amendment) Bill, 2020, and Punjab Land Revenue (Haryana Amendment) Bill, 2020. PTI CHS VSD RHL