The High Court on Tuesday gave two weeks time to the state government to take action against those persons recommended by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in the liquor scam.
A division bench comprising chief justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and justice Vilas V Afzalpurkar was dealing with writ petitions filed by OM Debara who sought functional autonomy to the ACB and advocate PV Krishnaiah, seeking CBI probe into the liquor scam.
Giri Krishna, special government pleader, informed the court that the ACB has recommended action against 1,122 officers involved in the scam. Of them, the government has issued orders for taking action against 929 officers. The government requires another four weeks time to initiate action against the remaining guilty officials, he said.
The bench while refusing to grant four more weeks time, directed that the government should take action within two weeks and then place those details before the court.
In the last hearing, the bench had directed the government to inform the steps taken by it on the ACB report. Accordingly, the government pleader placed a report before the court.
He said 24 bribe cases, 22 benami cases and 2 criminal misconduct cases were registered. Besides, prosecution was proposed against 138 private persons and prosecution proposals against 84 officers were received by the government. The government has issued prosecution orders against 929 officers as against a total of 1,122. The bench granted only two weeks time to the government and adjourned the hearing.
It may be mentioned here that the high court has been monitoring the ongoing probe by the ACB into the liquor syndicates and seeking progress reports periodically. Earlier, the ACB had informed the court that it had sought permission for prosecuting some officials under Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The agency sleuths have been conducting raids across the state since December last after exposing the liquor mafia-politicians-officials nexus with the arrest of Nunna Venkata Ramana, suspected to have led the liquor syndicate, from Khammam district. Apart from arresting several liquor traders, the agency has also arrested several excise officials since March on the charge of ‘subverting’ the tender process for allotment of liquor shops, and some police officials, for allegedly having links with the liquor mafia.