The liquor dons in the state are rejoicing as the ACB's fresh probe report has not mentioned the name of even a single politician as being involved in any scam or fraud in the liquor trade.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) gave its final report in a sealed envelope on the liquor scam to the court. According to sources, the report says there was no evidence of the involvement of any minister or MLA.
What is shocking is that evidence has been gathered about the involvement of excise and police officials but there was no evidence against politicians.
With this, there is a strong belief in opposition party circles that the ACBs investigation was done on the dictated lines of some powerful ruling party bigwigs. Earlier, there were reports that PCC chief Botsa Satyanarayan had allegedly received annual bribes from the liquor syndicates and his role was being investigated in the scam.
The state government in the past had transferred investigating officer Srinivas Reddy after he found links and dealings of the liquor syndicate with some 20 ministers and many more MLAs, besides excise, police and commercial tax officials.
Sources said, the reason for the immediate transfer of the officer was said to be the pressure from the Centre.
Several politicians and social activists protested against the government's move and they alleged that this was an attempt to scuttle the probe that had pointed fingers at several political heavyweights.
ACB sleuths, who conducted raids across the state since December last year arrested Nunna Venkata Ramana a top liquor dealer. Nunna had in a sensational disclosure said that “he had paid a bribe of Rs 10 lakh to minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana”. The agency has also arrested several excise and police officials for their alleged involvement in the liquor mafia.
ACB sources said that its investigations have so far revealed that some legislators and leaders had allegedly received annual bribes from the liquor syndicates. It is also stated that “some top politicians who are in the ministry level have obtained liquor licenses under bogus names”
It is common knowledge in political circles that the party’s top leaders’ families are into the liquor business.
But according to a seasoned politician but out of power presently “every person who consumes alcohol in the state knows who is involved in the scam, the ACB should have tried to contact all of them to get the truth out”.