Other States

Liquor mafia: 2 MPs demand CBI probe into Punjab govt. inaction

Partap Singh Bajwa.

Partap Singh Bajwa.  

Congress Rajya Sabha members from Punjab, Partap Singh Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo, on Monday wrote to the Governor asking for an inquiry by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) into the production of illegal liquor in the State.

The MPs alleged the existence of “illegal distilleries” in Patiala, home district of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and the Lok Sabha constituency of his wife Preneet Kaur.

Accusing the Chief Minister of being ‘unaware’, the MPs said, “It speaks volumes of lawlessness and administrative failure of the government.”

They also accused the Chief Minister of ignoring them when they raised the issues of “spurious liquor and smuggling”.

The letter follows the recent Hooch tragedy in Punjab that killed over 100 people, but it is a clear sign of growing dissidence in another Congress-ruled State after Sachin Pilot’s rebellion in Rajasthan.

While the Congress has always accused the BJP of using the CBI and the ED to harass the Opposition government, Mr. Bajwa and Mr. Dullo, both former State PCC chiefs, have asked for such a probe.

At loggerheads with CM

Mr. Bajwa has been at loggerheads with the Chief Minister ever since the Congress came to power in 2017.

In their four-page letter to Governor VPS Badnore, accessed by The Hindu, the Congress MPs have talked about the existence of a mafia that has been smuggling liquor out of Punjab causing a loss of ₹2,700 crore to the State exchequer and it couldn’t have done “without the consent and support of bureaucrats including police, Excise officials and politicians in power”.

“Therefore, we request your good self to send a recommendation to the government of India to let the CBI and the ED investigate the production and distribution of illegal liquor,” the MPs said.

“For several months now, the loss to the public exchequer due to smuggling of liquor by licensed and illegal distilleries and production of spurious liquor has been in the news...We have written letters to the Honorable Chief Minister as well as spoken publicly, seeking action against the people guilty of committing these offences but till date no action has been taken against the real culprits.

“All our efforts to get these criminals reined in were ignored. The Chief Minister and his team chose to disregard these issues when they were highlighted by us.”

Another direct attack

In another direct attack on Capt. Amarinder, they wrote: “The first illegal distillery was found at Khanna, the second at Rajpura and the third at Ghanaur. Interestingly, Rajpura and Ghanaur are both part of Patiala — home district of the Chief Minister and the parliamentary constituency of his wife.”

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2020 9:03:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/liquor-mafia-2-mps-demand-cbi-probe-into-punjab-govt-inaction/article32261671.ece

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