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ED raids residences of top Punjab excise officials

ED raids residences of top Punjab excise officials

The development came on a day when the ED carried out raids at over three dozen locations in Delhi and six states after registering a money laundering case involving Delhi’s now scrapped excise policy 2021-22

Teams of Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday conducted searches at the residences of top Punjab excise officials based in Chandigarh and Panchkula.

The development came on a day when the ED carried out raids at over three dozen locations in Delhi and six states after registering a money laundering case involving Delhi’s now scrapped excise policy 2021-22.

It was, however, not immediately clear when the searches in Punjab were part of the raids in connection with the Delhi liquor policy or whether the Bhagwant Mann-led AAP government’s excise policy was under the scanner.

The Punjab officials whose residences were searched are said to have worked closely in formulating the state’s new excise policy after the AAP government took over on March 16. The policy for the financial year 2022-23 was implemented on July 1.

Senior officers in the excise department confirmed that ED teams have seized vital documents related to the excise policy. However, no FIR was reported to have been registered so far.

The officers reportedly had held a number of meetings with Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia before Punjab’s excise policy was finalised.

The Opposition parties in Punjab have alleged that the state government’s policy “favours a section of liquor traders” and demanded a probe either by ED or CBI.

The state excise headquarters in Mohali wore a deserted look as all offices were locked and the lower staff also left after learning about the raids.

“In the government records seized from Delhi, there was also a mention of the excise policy to be implemented in Punjab and connecting the dots, the ED today questioned the two officers of Punjab and took away related documents,” an officer of the state’s excise department said on the condition of anonymity.

It may be mentioned here that leaders of other political parties, including leader of opposition in Punjab assembly Partap Singh Bajwa, Congress’ state unit president Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal and Bharatiya Janata Party’s Manjinder Singh Sirsa, have pointed fingers on the AAP government’s excise policy in the state.

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