In a move that puzzled many officials, the Revenue Department has opposed the ACB recommendation to prosecute two senior officers in the infamous excise scam and recommended a departmental inquiry against them instead. This recommendation has also been accepted by the Vigilance Commissioner last week, sources disclose.

In a move that puzzled many officials, the Revenue Department has opposed the ACB recommendation to prosecute two senior officers in the infamous excise scam and recommended a departmental inquiry against them instead. This recommendation has also been accepted by the Vigilance Commissioner last week, sources disclose.

‘Attempt to dilute Kothagudem Unit case’

The decision is being seen as a successful attempt to dilute the Kothagudem Unit case in the infamous excise scam that rocked the State in March last. The Kothagudem unit case pertained to irregularities committed by senior officials in including names in the liquor shop licences in violation of rules.

The two officers, the Excise Superintendent (ES) and Assistant Excise Superintendent (AES), were to be prosecuted under Sections 13 (1) (d) read with 13 (2) of Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and Sections 420, 465, 468, 471, 120-B r/w 34 of IPC as per the ACB recommendations, but now they would simply face a departmental inquiry.

If found guilty in a court of law, the accused officers could have to faced one year to seven years of jail term, while the punishments specified under the departmental inquiry range from a censure to removal or dismissal from service.

Falsification of records

The ACB, which had arrested nine officers in the case, submitted its final report recommending prosecution of the ES and AES and a departmental inquiry against the seven inspectors.

The ACB recommendation for prosecution of two senior officers was based on their findings that these two were responsible for falsification of records and that the seven inspectors had no say or access to records while liquor shop licences were issued.

The ACB finding was that the Inspectors had not objected to the superiors’ actions and hence they a recommended a departmental inquiry against them.

The Kothagudem unit case, in a nutshell, is about inclusion of some names in provisional liquor shop licences issued to the successful bidders of auctions held in June 2010.

The two senior officials, the ACB found, had included more names in the licences, ostensibly on the oral orders of the Excise Commissioner, to circumvent the tribal agency law.

Under the tribal agency law, no non-tribal can own, rent or take on lease any property to run a business.

However, with liquor shop auctions being open for anyone, non-tribals too participated and won shops in tribal agency areas.

To circumvent the law, the excise officials had surreptitiously entered the names of other people after the auctions, the ACB found. The sleuths also found that this falsification of records was done by these two officers and that the inspectors had no role to play in this.

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