A huge stock of liquor has gone missing from two godowns in Sonipat district and this could not have happened without the connivance of officials, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij said on Thursday.
The Haryana government has set up a three-member special investigation team (SIT) to probe the case of seized liquor going missing from the godowns which are close to each other, he said.
The minister said one godown is under the police and the other under the state excise department.
Asked if there was nexus of officials involved the incident, Mr Vij said, "Without connivance, liquor theft cannot take place. Without the connivance of police and excise officials, this theft could not have been possible."
Mr Vij said 5,500 liquor boxes have gone missing from the Sonipat godown which was under the supervision of the police department. The other godown is being looked after by the state excise department, he said.
The home minister said that he had ordered the police department, to register an FIR for "theft", but the excise department has so far not registered any case in the matter.
"So far the excise department has not registered an FIR into the stock which went missing from their godown. There are two godowns-one is in which police had kept the seized stock and adjacent to it is another godown, in which the excise too had kept the stock seized by them.
"However, the excise people are yet to count how much of their stock has gone missing," he said.
Mr Vij, a BJP leader, holds portfolios such as home, health, urban local bodies, in the Manohar Lal Khattar government. His party runs a coalition government with the JJP, whose chief Dushyant Singh Chautala is deputy chief minister and holds 11 portfolios, including excise.
To a question by reporters, Mr Vij said that Mr Chautala has not spoken to him on this matter and he does not know what the JJP leader has told the media about this.
"If he says he has spoken to me on this matter and asked for setting up of SIT, (in liquor stock going missing), then he is lying," he said.
Mr Vij also questioned why the liquor stock was kept in the godowns "which are owned by a person, who is already facing 8-10 cases of liquor smuggling".
"Keeping liquor in the property of such a kind of person is very wrong. The stock of liquor should not have been kept in these godowns either by police or the excise department. I have asked the SIT to probe which official had ordered liquor be kept there. It seems that the place had become a den of smuggling," he said.
He, however, said who ever is found guilty, no matter who the person in, will be dealt as per the law.
Mr Vij also expressed concern wondering why authorities, police or excise, had not checked these godowns for long.
"The godowns had been sealed since 2019, but beer manufactured in 2020 has also been seized from there. Liquor of those factories has also been found which do not manufacture in Haryana. Whether excise duty of that has been paid or not, the excise department will decide," he said.
As liquor of other states has been found, one can only guess that this place had become den, Mr Vij said.