The Chhattisgarh liquor scam appears to be heading the Delhi way, with the ED arresting Arun Pati Tripathi, Director of the Chhattisgarh State Marketing Corporation Ltd (CSMCL), who is also Special Secretary in the state Excise Department, on corruption charges.

“ED investigations have revealed that Arun Pati Tripathi, through his direct actions at the insistence of (accused) Anwar Dhebar, corrupted the entire liquor system in Chhattisgarh. He conspired to make policy changes with his colleagues and gave tenders to associates of Anwar Dhebar, so that maximum benefit could be taken,” the agency officially said.

Tripathi, who has worked in Chhattisgarh for the last seven years, was arrested on May 12.

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“He went against the ethos of the state Excise Department and used state-run shops to sell unaccounted kacha liquor. His actions resulted in massive loss to the State Exchequer and filled the pockets of the beneficiaries of the liquor syndicate, with more than Rs 2,000 crore in illegal proceeds of crime,” the ED alleged. It said Tripathi also received substantial share of the loot.

Thus, CSMCL’s objective to increase the State’s revenues and ensure quality-control were violated by him for his personal gain, the ED observed. Reacting to the ED probe, Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel had earlier counter-charged that the Centre was out to implicate him in the liquor scam.

The ED said it conducted search operations recently at locations in Raipur, Bhilai and Mumbai, and discovered 53 acres of land in Naya Raipur, having a book value of Rs 21.60 crore, which was acquired by Anwar Dhebar by using the proceeds of crime. This property was purchased through a maze of transactions in the name of an associate.