An Indian Police Service officer has been served a notice in a liquor seizure case in Madhya Pradesh’s Chhindwara and has been asked to transfer it to the excise department. This comes over two weeks after Gaurav Tiwari, the officer, was transferred to Chhindwara from Katni allegedly under political pressure. Tiwari had raided a liquor godown and seized liquor days after he took charge as Chhindwara SP on January 20. Additional District Magistrate Alok Shrivastava issued the notice, asking Tiwari to transfer the case since police were not authorised to carry out further investigation. “It is a high-profile matter. I am not authorised to comment,” said Shrivastava.
Local media quoted Tiwari as saying that revenue and excise officials had accompanied them for the raid. He maintained that the police were authorised to probe into the matter. An excise official insisted the police were not authorised to raid licensed liquor vendors or godowns and that the district magistrate’s permission is required for prosecution.
Tiwari had earlier issued a circular warning town inspectors (TIs) in-charge of police stations that they would be suspended if their subordinates were found involved in bribery. “Would the SP be held responsible if officers above the rank of TIs are found involved in crime,’’ Home Minister Bhupendra Singh had remarked in response to the circular, which was issued immediately after Tiwari took over as Chhindwara SP. Singh had disapproved of the circular.
Tiwari was probing an alleged Rs 500-crore hawala scam in Katni when he was transferred. The transfer led to widespread protests. The Congress has accused minister Sanjay Pathak of involvement in the scam and claimed that the BJP government removed Tiwari because of this.