HYDERABAD: With the ACB turning up the heat on them, the shadow players who used white ration card holders to corner liquor licences are sending them on urgent pilgrimages to prevent anticorruption personnel from asking them difficult questions. Faced with locked houses and absent below-povertyline liquor ‘licence holders’, the ACB is taking pains to assure them that its target is not the poor proxies but the puppeteers behind them.
The agency put out a note Tuesday appealing to village elders to persuade them to come forward and furnish information. The agency has found that a majority of the liquor licences in several districts are in the name of individuals who hold white ration cards, clearly too indigent to bid for booze vends with turnovers in the crores of rupees. ACB director-general D Boobathi Babu said, “In East Godavari district alone, out of the 555 shop licence holders, we found that 365, or 66 per cent, possess white ration cards.” On Tuesday, the agency registered six more cases relating to the licence fraud in Srikakulam, East Godavari, Nellore, Chittoor, Kadapa and Kurnool districts. “The ACB is aware of white ration card holders holding liquor licences but they are not the focus of our investigation.
That irregularity will be taken care of by the district administration.
ACB is only interested in reaching the core offenders who obtained licences in the name of innocent people with an intention of gaining control over the liquor trade,” the agency said.