Andhra Pradesh High Court today directed the state government to take appropriate action against those involved in the liquor scandal.
A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Vilas Afzalpurkar gave the state government four-week time to act on the Anti-Corruption Bureau's report on the scam and said it will again hear the case after five weeks. ACB had yesterday submitted its final report on the liquor syndicate probe to the high court in a sealed cover.
The court today handed over the copy of the report to the state government stating there is no need for probe by any other investigating agency. The bench was hearing a bunch of writ petitions filed by O M Debara who has sought functional autonomy to ACB and advocate P V Krishnaiah, who sought a CBI probe into the liquor scam. T
he high court has been monitoring the ongoing probe by the ACB into the syndicates and seeking progress reports periodically.
ACB had informed the court that it had sought permission for prosecuting some officials under Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. The agency sleuths have been conducting raids across the state since December last after exposing the liquor mafia-politicians-officials nexus with the arrest of Nunna Venkata Ramana, suspected to have led the liquor syndicate, from Khammam district. Nunna allegedly claimed that he had paid a bribe of Rs 10 lakh to former Andhra Pradesh minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana Rao.
The ongoing ACB probe has revealed that liquor 'syndicate' members were running shops in the names of 'white' ration card holders who could not have had the financial resources to pay for licences. Apart from arresting several liquor traders, the agency has also arrested several excise officials since March on the charge of subverting the tender process for allotment of liquor shops, and also some police officials, for allegedly having links with the liquor mafia.