The Enforcement Directorate on Friday conducted searches at 40 locations across India as part of a money laundering investigation into alleged irregularities in the now-withdrawn Delhi Excise Policy, PTI reported citing unidentified sources.
The raids are being carried out at premises of liquor businessmen, distributors and supply chain networks in Telangana’s Nellore and some other cities in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Delhi-NCR, NDTV reported, citing unidentified officials.
This is the second round of raids since September 6. Last week, the investigation agency searched around 45 locations in Delhi, Telangana, Maharashtra, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka, in addition to raiding private individuals named in the case.
Under the new policy, which was implemented in Delhi on November 17, licences of 849 liquor shops were issued to private firms through open bidding. However, on July 30, the Delhi government withdrew the policy after Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena recommended an inquiry into it by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
On September 1, Delhi reverted to its old liquor policy, under which only state-run stores are allowed to operate.
On August 17, the Central Bureau of Investigation booked Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and 14 other persons on charges of irregularities in the new liquor policy. Two weeks later, the CBI also raided premises linked to the Aam Aadmi Party leader and other accused persons.
The allegations have led to a tussle between the Aam Aadmi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party. The BJP has accused Sisodia and others leaders of the AAP of benefiting from the policy in cahoots with private liquor sellers. Meanwhile, the AAP has alleged that the BJP was misusing central agencies to destabilise the Delhi government.