January 29, 2017 3:51:45 am
The Maharashtra government has lodged a criminal case against a brewery owned by former three-time Solapur MLA and Nationalist Congress Party leader Rajen Patil for allegedly using bogus export permits to smuggle liquor.
According to information, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis himself gave the go ahead for action against the NCP leader’s firm after a two-month long multi-state investigation busted the alleged scam. Rajen Patil was elected three times from Solapur’s Mohol between 1995 and 2004.
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Following the Chief Minister’s nod, the Maharashtra Excise Department has registered an FIR against Patil, who is the director of Nakshatra Distilleries and Breweries Private Limited in Solapur. His family members including his wife, his two sons, and a daughter-in-law, who are also directors in the firm, have also been made accused in the case.
Patil, when contacted, alleged that the action against him and his family was “politically motivated.” He maintained that the “exports permits” (referred to as bogus by the excise department) were valid.
The case built up by the state Excise department against Patil alleges that Patil’s firm illegally disposed 1.10 lakh cartons of whiskey over the last two years using 87 bogus receipts that showed that the liquor had been exported to a warehouse— the Royal Bonded Warehouse— in Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang.
Maharashtra’s Excise Department sought help from counterparts in Arunachal Pradesh for the investigations. According to norms, the importing state has to first issue an import permit to the warehouse. Following investigations, a senior Excise department official from Arunachal Pradesh has come under the scanner for his role in issuing the bogus permits. He has also been named in the FIR. Meanwhile, the Maharashtra Excise department has also issued show cause notice to some of its officials for “dereliction of duty”.
Incidentally, investigators have claimed that most of the liquor exports never made it to Arunachal Pradesh, and were instead offloaded in Gujarat. Consumption of liquor is banned in the state of Gujarat. Patil has rebutted the claim, stating that the liquor was indeed exported to the Arunachal Pradesh warehouse. But investigations have revealed that the warehouse in question does not have valid permit to import liquor from Maharashtra since October 2014, said officials.
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