The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today accused the Indian National Congress (INC) government of trying to cover up the Rs 100-crore Khanna liquor scam. They said that the Captain Amarinder Singh government had reinstated Gurcharan Singh Grewal, the officer under whose administration an illegal liquor factory did brisk business, as Khanna’s senior superintendent of police.
Some Akali politicians warned they would raise a stir if the Punjab government did not post the senior officer out of the district.
Former Punjab minister Maheshinder Singh Grewal said it was during Gurcharan’s tenure as SSP that the illegal factory, which produced 1,000 crates of liquor everyday, had flourished under the watch of the local police.
“It is condemnable that the same officer, who was transferred out of the district for failing to stop liquor smuggling, has now been posted back. We condemn the move and demand that he is posted out of the district immediately,” said Grewal.
The senior SAD politician demanded further a CBI probe into the liquor scam. He said the Punjab government had yet to identify those who supplied machinery for the illegal factory and spirit used to make alcohol.
“The role of the Khanna Congress legislator who openly patronised the factory has also not been probed adequately. Till such time that the CBI probes the matter, it should be given for inquiry to an IG level officer,” Grewal said.
The former minister said it was clear that the Punjab government had reinstated Gurcharan as the Khanna SSP to ensure that the investigation into the illegal factory and its godfathers were scuttled.
“In case the SSP is not posted out of the district, and a free and fair probe is not conducted into the matter, SAD will launch an agitation to secure justice”, the INC politician added.
Khanna liquor scam of Punjab
On 25 April, two days after Khanna police arrested five persons for allegedly running an illicit liquor factory in a warehouse in Bahomajra village, a police probe has found they may have been dodging cops at checkpoints by claiming they were distributing essential materials.
On Wednesday, Khanna police had booked Rajiv Gupta of Dugri Phase I in Ludhiana, Harwinder Singh, Chander Prakash, and Jatinder Kumar (all of Ganga Nagar), Jatinderpal Singh of Khanna, and an unidentified accused into the matter.
Khanna SSP Harpreet Singh said they were probing how they were transporting liquor to their customers, but indicated they may have been doing it under the garb of distributing essential materials. He added they were also trying to identify the customers of the accused persons.
On 19 September, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) transferred the illegal liquor scam case of the state from its Jalandhar zone office to its headquarters in New Delhi. The financial investigation agency has been probing cases related also to the hooch tragedy that claimed 122 lives in August in Punjab.
Sources said after the zonal office transfers the case files to the headquarters, a special task force of the ED was probing the case further.