Tollywood drug racket: Investigative officer Akun Sabharwal to not go on leave

Akun Sabharwal, director enforcement, Department of Prohibition and Excise of Telangana Government, had applied for 10-day leave from July 16 citing personal reasons.

Published: 15th July 2017 01:35 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th July 2017 08:08 PM   |  A+A-

Excise (enforcement) director Akun Sabharwal

By Express News Service

HYDERABAD: In a fresh turn of events in the ongoing investigation into a Hyderabad-based drug racket, excise (enforcement) director Akun Sabharwal texted media persons on Saturday saying that he was deferring his 10-day leave that was to start on Friday. 

The text message sent by Sabharwal read, "In view of the importance of the Drugs' Case, I'm postponing my leave till completion of the enquiry. by Akun Sabharwal. Director excise."

On Friday, Sabharwal had said he was going on leave for "personal reasons" after confirming reports that 12 persons in the Telugu film industry had been issued a notice to come in for questioning as part of the investigation.

The news had raised eyebrows and led to speculation of political pressure being the reason, even as the officer insisted his leave had been planned in advance and he had the backing of the Telangana government.

In fact, home minister Nayani Narasimha Reddy, on Friday, came out stating there was no pressure on Akun Sabharwal for going on leave amid the ongoing drug busts in the city. "Akun Sabharwal is going on leave on personal grounds. There is no pressure on him from the government,'' Narasimha Reddy had said at Suryapet on Friday while on his way to Khammam from Hyderabad.

According to sources, Sabharwal's latest decision has come in the wake of requests from certain quarters of state government which were not happy with the media reports pointing at political interference in the probe as a reason for his leave at the crucial juncture.

Sabharwal also said that the Special Investigation Team (SIT), who were to question the 12 summoned-persons between July 19 and July 27, did not receive any calls from politicians for slowing down the investigation.  “Nobody in the SIT or any other officials in the department received calls of threat from any leader. We do not have any pressure on us and the state government is readily accepting the work done by the department," he said.

“My leave got sanctioned now and am going to my native place. My mother has passed away two months ago and am going home in connection with that. Leave has got nothing to do with the case,” the enforcement chief had said yesterday.  

However, the officer was quoted in some mainstream media outlets as saying he was going mountaineering in the Himalayas.

During the initial days of the probe into the case, Sabharwal had stayed away from investigation for a couple of days after reportedly facing the wrath of political class when names of top schools which were issued notices by the department were leaked in the media.

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