The Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Wednesday arrested 20 people after raids across the state for irregularities in owning liquor outlets. They have registered 22 cases relating to fraud committed in auction of liquor shops in various districts.
The investigation of these cases has reportedly revealed that some liquor syndicates have used the names of poor persons who hold white ration cards, issued to below poverty line families, and obtained licences of A4 wine shops by subverting the legal process and running the liquor trade in collusion with officials.
ACB officials have found that the licencees had no financial resources to deposit huge amounts running into several lakhs or even crores of rupees as licence fee and deposit. They also found that the money was paid by persons who were running the business in the names of 'Binamidars'.
Gutta Satyanarayana from Eluru in West Godavari district, Y.Subba Rao from Kaikaluru in Krishna district, Uppala Ram Prasad from Pedana, also in Krishna district, Mamidala Venkateswara Rao from Kakinada in East Godavari, Meka Srinivas from Srikakulam, Anisetty Nageswar and KE Madhava Krishna from Kurnool, P Narasimha Reddy, C Suryanarayana and Venkata Naidu from Anantapur district, Devanaboina Nagendra from Kadapa district, Sudhakar Reddy from Nellore, Dharma Rao from Prakasam district, Kothakapu Konda Reddy, K.Nagabushana Rao from Chittoor, E.Raju Yadav from Ranga Reddy district, N.Nageswara Rao from Nalagonda district, Velichala Sriranga Rao from Karimnagar district, B Devi Das from Nizamabad district and V.Karunakar Reddy from Medak district have been arrested.
All the 20 arrested persons are being produced for judicial custody before the concerned Speciall Judges for ACB Cases.
The ACB crackdown on the liquor network across the state began towards the end of last year and ran into trouble with some prominent political names being linked to irregularities in issue of licences during auctions, distribution and sale of liquor, reportedly causing crores of rupees in loss to the exchequer.
With the arrest in February of Nunna Venkata Ramana, who ran 29 wine shops and reportedly had influence over 80 wine shops in Khammam and Warangal, the investigation came into sharp public focus with his naming of excise minister Mopidevi Venkatramana, who has since resigned after his arrest in the disproportionate assets case against Jagan Mohan Reddy.
The ACB has lodged 30 cases in Hyderabad and Khammam after March 2012.
Andhra Pradesh Pradesh Congress Committee president Botsa Satyanarayana was reportedly angered by action against his business links in the liquor world, and that is said to have led to the controversial transfer of IPS officer Srinivas Reddy who was heading the probe .
Today's raids happened even as the Election Commission said on Tuesday that it had seized 1.75 lakh litres of liquor after the model code of conduct came into force and there is apprehension that more liquor will flow in the constituencies going to by-polls on June 12.