Retired IAS Officer Detained in Connection with Rs 2,000 Crore Chhattisgarh Liquor Scam

The ED arrests a retired IAS officer in a ₹2,000 crore Chhattisgarh liquor scam, highlighting alleged corruption and money laundering in the state's liquor industry involving officials and politicians.

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Dil Bar Irshad
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Retired IAS Officer Detained in Connection with Rs 2,000 Crore Chhattisgarh Liquor Scam

Retired IAS Officer Detained in Connection with Rs 2,000 Crore Chhattisgarh Liquor Scam

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested retired Chhattisgarh IAS officer Anil Tuteja in connection with an alleged Rs 2,000 crore liquor scam linked money laundering case in the state. The federal agency detained the 2003 batch officer from the Economic Offences Wing (EOW)/Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) office in Raipur on Saturday, April 22, 2024, where Tuteja and his son Yash had gone to record their statements.

Tuteja was later taken into custody under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and is expected to be produced before a magistrate, where the ED will seek his remand. The ED had filed a fresh money laundering case in the alleged liquor scam after the Supreme Court recently quashed its earlier FIR that was based on an Income Tax Department complaint.

Why this matters: The case involves allegations of unprecedented corruption and money laundering in Chhattisgarh's liquor industry, with potential implications for state officials and politicians. The ED's action against a high-ranking retired bureaucrat highlights the severity of the charges and the ongoing efforts to uncover the extent of the alleged scam.

The agency has alleged that money was illegally collected from every bottle of liquor sold in Chhattisgarh, and evidence of corruption and money laundering amounting to Rs 2,000 crore has been unearthed. The ED has claimed that an alcohol syndicate led by Anwar Dhebar, the elder brother of Raipur Mayor and Congress leader Aijaz Dhebar, was involved in the alleged scam.

The ED has estimated the alleged proceeds of crime in the case at Rs 2,161 crore. It has been alleged that bribes were taken from distillers to allow them to form a cartel and have a fixed market share. The syndicate also allegedly manufactured and sold illicit liquor in the state entirely on cash, with no income tax or excise duty being paid.

The controversy originally arose from allegations of corruption within the state-run liquor retailer, the Chhattisgarh State Marketing Corporation Limited (CSMCL), with officials allegedly taking bribes from distillers. The former Congress-led state government had accused the BJP-led central government of using the ED to target its leaders, but the Centre defended the agency's actions as upholding the law.

After the government change, the state police filed a fresh FIR, and the ED is now re-investigating the case. The fresh case names Tuteja, his son, several Congress leaders, bureaucrats, and businessmen over alleged corruption in the state's liquor industry between 2019 and 2022. As the inquiry progresses, more details are anticipated to surface about the extent of the alleged scam and the involvement of various officials and politicians.

Key Takeaways

  • ED arrests retired IAS officer Anil Tuteja in ₹2,000 crore Chhattisgarh liquor scam
  • Alleged corruption and money laundering in state's liquor industry, involving officials and politicians
  • ED estimates ₹2,161 crore as proceeds of crime, with bribes paid to form distiller cartel
  • Controversy arose from allegations of corruption in state-run liquor retailer CSMCL
  • Fresh FIR names Tuteja, his son, Congress leaders, bureaucrats, and businessmen in the scam