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ED arrests retired IAS officer in liquor scam

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RAIPUR, April 21: Days after filing a fresh case, the Enforcement Directorate on Sunday arrested retired Chhattisgarh IAS officer Anil Tuteja in connection with a Rs 2,000 crore alleged liquor-scam linked money laundering case in the state, officials said.
The federal agency detained the 2003-batch officer from the Economic Offences Wing (EOW)/Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) office in Raipur on Saturday evening where the bureaucrat and his son Yash Tuteja had gone to record their statements in the same case.
They were issued a summons by the ED at the EOW/ACB office to join the investigation and record their statements following which they were taken to the central agency’s office here.
The retired IAS officer was questioned and was taken into custody in the early hours of Sunday under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). Yash Tuteja was allowed to leave after questioning.
Anil Tuteja was produced before a jurisdictional magistrate that sent him to one-day judicial custody, ED counsel Saurabh Pandey said. He added that the agency had sought a 14-day custody of Tuteja from the magistrate.
However, as the special PMLA court was not working on Sunday, the magistrate court sent him to judicial custody for a day, the lawyer said.
Tuteja will be produced before a special PMLA court on Monday and the ED will seek his remand afresh for custodial interrogation, he said.
The officer retired from service last year. He was last designated as joint secretary in the industry and commerce department of Chhattisgarh.
The ED had filed a fresh money laundering case in the liquor scam case after the Supreme Court recently quashed its earlier FIR that was based on an Income Tax Department complaint. The apex court ruled that there was no scheduled offence and hence the money laundering case does not stand.The agency, just before this ruling, had shared details of its probe into the case with the state EOW/ACB seeking registration of a criminal case and once they filed an FIR, the ED registered a new money laundering case taking cognisance of that complaint.
The EOW/ACB registered this FIR on January 17, about a month after the BJP returned to power in the state by defeating the Congress in the assembly polls. It named 70 individuals and companies, including former excise minister Kawasi Lakhma, former chief secretary Vivek Dhand and others.
The ED has estimated the alleged “proceeds of crime” in the case at Rs 2,161 crore.
Money was “illegally” collected from “every” bottle of liquor sold in Chhattisgarh and evidence of “unprecedented” corruption and money laundering of Rs 2,000 crore generated by an alcohol syndicate led by Anwar Dhebar, the elder brother of Raipur Mayor and Congress leader Aijaz Dhebar, has been unearthed, the ED had alleged. (PTI)

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