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Chhattisgarh Liquor Revenue Went Up In More Than Four Years, No Scam: CM Baghel

Baghel told reporters that the state excise department has issued notices to three distilleries regarding the allegations about the use of fake holograms on (liquor) bottles.

Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Bhagel
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Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Saturday said liquor revenue in the state has gone up in the last four-and-a-half years and there is no question of any scam. 

Baghel told reporters that the state excise department has issued notices to three distilleries regarding the allegations about the use of fake holograms on (liquor) bottles.

A day earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a scathing attack on Congress during a rally in Raipur saying the party had promised a liquor ban in Chhattisgarh, but in reality, crores of rupees of liquor scam went into the account of the party.

Queried on PM Modi's remarks, Baghel said, "Under Raman Singh's government in 2017, liquor revenue of the state stood at Rs 3,900 crore which is now increased to Rs 6,500 crore. There is no question of any scam".

The Congress government assumed office in Chhattisgarh in December 2018 after dislodging the BJP from power in elections.

 Baghel said holograms are pasted (on bottles) in factories. "If the factory owner and any person are involved (in any irregularity), they should be investigated but the factory/distillery owners are free. 

 “The state Excise department has issued notices to three distilleries asking if they have not used (genuine) holograms or used a duplicate hologram, then why recoveries shouldn't be made from you,” the chief minister said. 

  The Enforcement Directorate has claimed Rs 2,161 crore of corruption money was generated in the alleged "liquor scam" which began in 2019 with a syndicate comprising senior bureaucrats of Chhattisgarh, politicians, their associates and excise department officials.

Baghel, meanwhile, took a dig at BJP referring to the induction of nine Nationalist Congress Party leaders, including Ajit Pawar, in the Shiv Sena-BJP government of Maharashtra.

 "Eight days back, those people who were facing charges of corruption in Maharashtra switched sides and all of them became ministers..... Now the charges against them have been washed with Gangajal," the chief minister said. 

He claimed that ED and the Income Tax department are being misused against Opposition parties. 

 “They (BJP) do not have a problem with corruption or else they would have replied to Rahul Gandhi's question about the relations between you (BJP) and (businessman) Adani. His (Rahul Gandhi's) membership (of Parliament) was ended and he had to vacate his bungalow,” the CM added.

 Rahul Gandhi, an MP from Kerala, was disqualified after he was convicted by a court in Gujarat for his remarks on "Modi surname" which he made at a rally in 2019 and sentenced to two years in jail.

 On Friday, the Gujarat High Court's refused to stay Gandhi's conviction.

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