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May 3, 2024

Noida Businessman Arrested in Connection with Alleged Chhattisgarh Liquor Scam

The Special Task Force (STF) of the Uttar Pradesh police has made a significant breakthrough in the investigation of the alleged Chhattisgarh liquor scam by arresting a Noida-based businessman. The arrest comes following a probe initiated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), with an FIR lodged at the Kasna police station in Greater Noida last year.

The arrested businessman, Vidhu Gupta, director of M/s Prizm Holography Security Films (PHSF), was detained for questioning at the STF office in Noida and later formally arrested in connection with the case. The investigation revolves around illegal activities related to hologram tenders awarded to PHSF by the Excise Department of Chhattisgarh.

According to officials, Gupta’s company, PHSF, was allegedly granted the tender illegally, with connivance from senior officials of Chhattisgarh, including an IAS officer and a politician. The tender conditions were allegedly modified to favor PHSF, despite the company’s ineligibility to participate in the tender process.

The ED, investigating the case under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), has shed light on the modus operandi of the scam. Gupta’s company, in collaboration with Chhattisgarh officials, was allegedly involved in manufacturing duplicate holograms, which were then used in the sale of illegal country liquor bottles from state-run shops in Chhattisgarh.

The holograms, meant to authenticate liquor, were manipulated by PHSF to produce duplicate versions, allowing the illegal liquor syndicate to deceive consumers. These duplicate holograms, manufactured at the Noida factory and supplied to Chhattisgarh, facilitated the sale of counterfeit liquor, endangering public health and safety.

The ED’s investigation has revealed that the contract awarded to PHSF involved supplying 80 crore holograms over five years at inflated prices. In return, the company provided on-demand supplies of duplicate holograms to the syndicate, ensuring the smooth operation of the illicit liquor trade.

The arrest of Vidhu Gupta marks a significant development in the ongoing investigation into the Chhattisgarh liquor scam. It underscores the collaborative efforts of law enforcement agencies to root out corruption and illegal activities that compromise public welfare.

The ED and STF remain committed to unraveling the intricate web of corruption surrounding the liquor scam. With more arrests expected and further revelations anticipated, the crackdown on such illicit activities is poised to intensify, sending a strong message against malpractice and corruption in the business and regulatory sectors.

As the investigation progresses, authorities aim to not only hold the perpetrators accountable but also implement measures to prevent similar incidents in the future. The case serves as a stark reminder of the importance of transparency, integrity, and accountability in government procurement processes to safeguard public interests and maintain the rule of law.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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