Governor gives nod to prosecute 34 officials
Governor ESL Narasimhan Gives Nod to Prosecute 34 Officials, Governor ESL Narasimhan has given permission for the prosecution of 34 officials accused in the liquor scam that rocked the State last year.
Hyderabad: Governor ESL Narasimhan has given permission for the prosecution of 34 officials accused in the liquor scam that rocked the State last year. Orders were issued to this effect by the Governor’s office on Tuesday. The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), which had exposed the scam involving liquor syndicates backed by political bigwigs, recommended disciplinary action against as many as 1,100 employees, including top officials. It established the nexus between liquor syndicates, government officials and the politicians in perpetuating the MRP violation and other irregularities.
The Governor, after a thorough study of the recommendations made by the ACB, sanctioned prosecution of 34 officials, mostly circle inspectors of the Excise Department, in the first phase. His initiative has revived the case which was literally pushed under the carpet by the Kiran Kumar Reddy government by shifting the police officers who investigated the case.
Following many complaints that bureaucrats and politicians were involved in protecting liquor syndicates, which made huge profits by inflating the price of liquor, the State government earlier ordered a probe into the scandal. The investigation of these cases has reportedly revealed that liquor syndicates used the names of poor persons who held white ration cards and obtained licences of wine shops by subverting the legal process and running the liquor trade in collusion with officials.
The ACB crackdown on the liquor network across the State ran into trouble with some prominent political names being linked to irregularities in the issue of licences during auctions, distribution and sale of liquor, reportedly causing crores of rupees in loss to the exchequer.
Liquor syndicate member from Khammam district Nunna Venkataramana was arrested in February 2012. He ran 29 wine shops and reportedly had influence over 80 wine shops in Khammam and Warangal. After his arrest the investigation came into sharp public focus with his naming of excise minister Mopidevi Venkatramana, who has since resigned after his arrest in the disproportionate assets (DA) case against Jaganmohan Reddy. Botcha Satyanarayana, who was the then PCC president, was reportedly angered by the action against his business links in the liquor world. That was said to have led to the controversial transfer of IPS officer Srinivas Reddy who was heading the probe.