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The Hindu
The Hindu
The Hindu Bureau

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel hits out at ED over ₹2,000 crore liquor scam allegations

Accusing the Enforcement Directorate of defaming his government, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Monday dismissed the Central agency’s allegations of an alleged ₹2,000-crore liquor scam in the State as “fabricated”. 

“These allegations have been levelled keeping in view the [Assembly] elections [due later this year]. They should disclose how much mobile and immobile assets have they seized. The [premises belonging to] the same set of people are raided by the IT Income Tax first and then the ED, but they do not issue a press note declaring that how much money was found in whose house. This is only a conspiracy of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to defame us,” Mr. Baghel told presspersons.   

After arresting Anwar Dhebar —the brother of Raipur Mayor Aijaz Dhebar and the alleged kingpin of the scam — on Saturday, the ED had claimed that he had laundered around ₹2,000 crore from 2019 to 2022 with the backing of “high-level State government officials, private persons and Political Executives of the State government” to cause a loss to the State exchequer.

The issue also surfaced in the Karnataka Assembly elections campaign when, following the ED’s submission to the court, the BJP said in a tweet on Sunday that Mr. Baghel’s office had become a nodal hub for corruption, pegging the aggregate face value of “massive scams” in his regime up to over ₹2,500 crore. 

Mr. Baghel countered these allegations and said that the Excise revenue from liquor sales had increased to ₹6,000 crore compared from ₹3,900 crore during the BJP rule. He added that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had given the State government a clean chit on liquor policy.  

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