ACB arrests four Andhra Pradesh excise officials

Anti-Corruption Bureau, which has been carrying out raids on the liquor syndicates across Andhra Pradesh, has arrested four senior Excise officials

Hyderabad: Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), which has been carrying out raids on the liquor syndicates across Andhra Pradesh, has arrested four senior Excise
officials for their alleged links with the liquor mafia, a top officer said on Sunday.

The officials including the then deputy commissioner A V Narasimha Rao, excise superintendent K Madhusudan Rao, prohibition and excise superintendent M Shankaraiah and excise inspector D S Nath in Khammam district, were arrested
yesterday after searches were carried out in Hyderabad and Khammam districts and were produced before a court, ACB Director General D Bhupati Babu said

The officials had processed files and played an active role in handing over the control of business of 16 liquor shops to the liquor syndicate led by Nunna Venkata Ramana, who is already under judicial custody, Babu said in a statement.

The ACB sleuths has been conducting raids in different districts across the state since December last year after "exposing" the liquor syndicate-political-officials nexus, with the arrest of Nunna, who, allegedly confessed that he paid Rs 10 lakh to State Excise Minister Mopivedi Venkat Ramana and `mamools` (bribe) was also paid two MLAs.

The agency had registered 24 cases in January this year and booked one more case on March 2 after conducting searches in Hyderabad and Khammam districts in connection with the role of Excise officials who had allegedly connived with liquor shop licensees.

As part of the investigations, it came to light that Nunna and others had committed various criminal acts in collusion and in conspiracy with officials of Excise department and others right from the initial stage of auction of shops itself in 2010, the director general said adding, "thus they gained control over business of running 16 liquor shops in Khammam district and gained undue pecuniary advantage."

The accused incorporated names of second persons in each tender application along with the original tendered and the words "and others" were added, and thus the tender applications were fabricated and all this was done after completion of the process of auction, the ACB director general said explaining the modus operandi of the irregularities committed by the officials in finalising the liquor shop auction bids.

According to the ACB remand report, Nunna, who runs 29 wine shops, is a liquor syndicate leader, with influence over 80 wine shops in Khammam and Warangal and he used to dictate about the kickbacks to be paid to different persons, including
political leaders besides excise and police officials. The ACB has already formed an SIT to speed up probe into the activities of liquor mafia.