SET probing alleged liquor scam in Haryana submits 'voluminous' report

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Chandigarh, Jul 31 (PTI) The Special Enquiry Team (SET) probing the alleged liquor scam in Haryana on Friday submitted its report, with state Home Minister Anil Vij saying its contents will be made public in due course after studying the 'voluminous' document.

The team had been set up by the Haryana government to probe the alleged theft of liquor seized by the police and the excise department.

'The SET, which had been formed in the liquor scam, under senior IAS officer T C Gupta's chairmanship, submitted its report to Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Vijay Vardhan on Friday,' Vij told reporters in Ambala.

He said, 'now, we will go through the voluminous report, which weighs 15-20 kg, and study its contents. Whatever is in that report, we will make it public in due course of time, we will also tell what action we have to take in the matter'.

The SET was to submit its report to the government by May 31, but later, it was extended by two months.

On May 6, Vij had announced the formation of a Special Investigation Team following the alleged theft of seized liquor from two godowns in Sonipat district.

However, the state government finally formed a SET.

In an order, the Home Department had said the probe team will also check the actual availability of stock in all warehouses and godowns that were sealed by the excise department during the last two years for any violation.

The SET was required to examine cases of seizure of illicit and non-excise duty paid liquor in Haryana for the period, April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020, both by the police and the excise department separately, with special reference to the action taken and the fines imposed by the excise department pursuant to the recovery of the liquor.

It was also asked to collect and collate the result of the investigation of the FIRs registered from March 15 till May 10 in different parts of the state for pilferage of liquor from the godowns and also from the Malkhanas (strong rooms) of police stations, as per the order. Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had rejected setting up of the SET in the alleged liquor scam, demanding that the matter should be probed by a central agency or a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Senior Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala had claimed that the SET lacked powers and asked 'whether the Khattar government is conducting an inquiry into the liquor scam or resorting to a cover-up'. PTI SUN ANB ANB