Enforcement Directorate clamps down on inter-State liquor syndicate

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has clamped down on a liquor syndicate and searched over a dozen premises linked to the accused persons in Delhi, Haryana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh.

The premises of accused Sunil Bhardwaj in Greater Noida; Dorjee Phuntso Khrime in Itanagar; Kala AMB Distillery and Brewery in Solan; locations related to associated entities and persons in the National Capital Region’s Rohini, Noida and Gurugram, and Panipat in Haryana; and the residence of Vidiyo Rai and his son Pintu Kumar in Bihar’s Samastipur were searched.

In a separate case, the ED had attached seven properties worth ₹3.51 crore of Mr. Rai. The order was confirmed by the Adjudicating Authority on February 14.

As alleged, Mr. Bhardwaj operates the Kala AMB Distillery and Brewery, through which he, in connivance with Mr. Khrime, runs the liquor syndicate across several States, including Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Arunchal Pradesh, West Bengal and Jharkhand. The ED had initiated the probe against him and others following allegations of illegal liquor trade in Bihar.

The agency found that the accused persons had created a web of entities for running the syndicate and also for opening various bank accounts for receiving the proceeds in the form of cash deposits and digital transfers from the buyers of the liquor in different States.

During the searches, the agency seized papers related to various properties in and around Delhi, as also in Dubai, belonging to Mr. Bhardwaj; and 32 original sale deeds of the properties bought by Mr. Rai in his name and that of his family members. “The receipt of proceeds of crime to the tune of ₹8 crore into the bank accounts of the entities linked with Sunil through cash deposits in various banks in Bihar has been identified,” the agency said.

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