Chhattisgarh HC dismisses regular bail pleas of four accused in liquor scam

The Chhattisgarh High Court on Friday dismissed applications for regular bail filed by businessman Anwar Dhebar and three others, including a senior government official, who were arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case linked to the alleged Rs 2,161-crore liquor scam in the state.

A bench of Justice Goutam Bhaduri here rejected the regular bail please of Dhebar, liquor businessman Trilok Singh Dhillon, hotelier Nitesh Purohit and Managing Director of Chhattisgarh State Marketing Corporation Ltd (CSMCL) Arunpati Tripathi, said Saurabh Kumar Pande, Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) for the ED.

Chhattisgarh State Marketing Corp deals in retail sales of all kinds of liquor/beer/wine in the state.

Of them, Dhebar, Dhillon and Purohit were out on interim bail and after the latest order passed by the HC, it also stands cancelled, he said.

All the four accused in the case had submitted pleas seeking regular bail and hearing on them took place on Friday, said the ED counsel.

After hearing the arguments of the prosecution and the defence, the HC said, “All the bail applications are liable to be (rejected) and are hereby rejected. Consequently, the interim order passed earlier stands discharged.”

Dhebar, elder brother of Congress leader and Raipur Mayor Aijaz Dhebar, was the first person to be arrested in the money laundering case that stems from an Income Tax department chargesheet filed earlier in connection with alleged tax evasion and irregularities in liquor trade in Chhattisgarh and some other states, officials had said.

The ED then arrested four more persons — Tripathi, who is an Indian Telecom Services officer, Dhillon, Purohit and one Arvind Singh — in connection with the case.

Also Read

The central agency had submitted a prosecution complaint (chargesheet) in the case in a court set up under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in state capital Raipur on July 4.

According to the prosecution complaint, Rs 2,161 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 excise department’s main responsibilities are to regulate the supply of liquor, ensure quality alcohol to users to prevent hooch tragedies and to earn revenue for the state, but a criminal syndicate led by Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Anil Tuteja (recently retired) and Anwar Dhebar turned these objectives upside down, the ED had said.

This syndicate comprises senior bureaucrats of the state, politicians, their associates and officials of the excise department, according to the document.

Related Articles

Latest Articles