Haryana Wine Scandal : Will The Jinn Come Out Of The Bottle ?
Jag Mohan Thaken –Editor-in-Chief- INF
Ultimately the referee has blown the whistle to check the foul play. After a long blame game, the Chief Minister , Manohar Lal Khattar has intervened and accorded his permission to probe into the so called Haryana Liquor Scandal . The two heavy weight ministers of his cabinet were seemingly fighting the wordy battle since long.
One Minister was smelling no foul play and straightforwardly rejecting even the slightest existence of any dirty pool , whereas the other one, smelling and seeing the rotten carcass spreading putridity , wanted a Vigilance probe to dig out even the buried skeletons . Now here it had become the ‘Naak Ka Swaal’ (A Matter of Prestige ) for both the different smelling noses . Both these Haryana Ministers are the two different poles of power centers and neither of the two has a bowing nature .One is Mr. Dushyant Chautala , a younger generation representative and a backbone of the present BJP-JJP coalition government ,who is holding the portfolio of Deputy Chief Minister alongwith his weight balancing departments including Excise and Taxation Department in lieu of his oxygen supplying support to the BJP led government . On the other hand is a product of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, a student wing of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, and a fearless , strong and audacious senior BJP leader , Mr. Anil Vij, a contender of CM throne, who has never learnt to bend and presently also a senior minister in the coalition government having the major portfolios of Home and Health in addition to others.
The counterclaims of the Two Ministers
Mr. Dushyant Chautala denies any liquor scandal in Haryana, whereas Mr. Vij , heading the Home Ministry , smelling the foul play , has stated that a vigilance probe will be conducted to unearth the facts of the too much publicized liquor smuggling during the lockdown .
While addressing a press conference at Chandigarh on August 27 , Haryana Deputy Chief Minister, Mr. Dushyant Chautala claimed that Haryana Excise Department has recorded highest revenue collection during COVID-19. Prior to this, the Excise Department had never collected such a high amount of revenue in the first quarter of the year, which reflects that there is no scam.
On the other hand , on the same day , talking to mediapersons, Home Minister, Anil Vij emphasized that a probe will be conducted “in each and every district” on the basis of recommendations suggested by a Special Enquiry Team (SET) in its report in the alleged multi-crore liquor smuggling scam.
What the Bone of contention is?
A huge stock of liquor was noticed missing from two godowns in Sonipat district .On May 7,2020, Haryana Home Minister , Anil Vij said that ‘5,500 liquor boxes have gone missing from the Sonipat godown which was under the supervision of the police department. The other godown is being looked after by the state excise department.’
Asked if there was nexus of officials involved in incident, Vij said, “Without connivance, liquor theft cannot take place. Without the connivance of police and excise officials, this theft could not have been possible.”
In political circles , the statement of Anil Vij about involvement of Excise Department officials in the liquor scandal and his stress on getting the scandal probed into deeply is being taken as his counter attack on Dushyant Chautala to equalize his (Chautala’s) previous attack of 2018 on Vij.
It is pertinent to mention here that both Vij and Dushyant had been on loggerheads since 2018. In response to allegations leveled in March 2018 by Dushyant Chautala , the then Indian National Lok Dal MP from hisar Lok Sabha seat , regarding an alleged scam in the purchase of medicines for the government hospitals , when Anil Vij was Health Minister , Mr. Vij reportedly made personal comments alleging Dushyant about drug abusing.
As per media reports , Chautala filed a complaint before a Hisar court , on the basis of Vij’s said statement to the media in April 2018, which reportedly had stated, “Drug abuse is rampant in the area from where Dushyant Chautala comes. I think he has also started taking drugs and he should go to some de-addiction centre.”
A Special Enquiry Team (SET ) was formed in May to enquire into the scandal which gave its report on July 30 to the home department and pointed out ‘huge unauthorized movement of liquor stocks across the state during Covid lockdown period’ , after which Minister Vij sent it to the Chief Minister , Manohar Lal Khattar along with his recommendations . Finally the Chief Minister has accorded his approval to investigate the matter deeply .
“On my recommendation to get the matter thoroughly investigated by vigilance department, chief minister has accepted it fully and chief secretary has written to vigilance department to probe the entire matter, thoroughly,” Vij told the media persons on August 27 .
The main opposition Party , Congress had also raised the liquor scam issue and in a protest march held at Nuh on August 13, Kumari Selja , State President of the party , sent a memorandum to the Haryana Governor through local administration ,demanding an investigation by a sitting Judge of the High Court .
As ,now the vigilance probe has been allowed to look into the alleged multi-crore liquor scam ,the final outcome will reflect and affect the whole scenario . But will the real Jinn come out of the sealed bottle or remain therein hidden in a bottom corner minimizing to its nonvisible size ?, the question will await for the answer . (INF).