Hyderabad, April 17 (IANS) The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in Andhra Pradesh has registered six more cases relating to the fraud committed in auction of liquor shops in six districts.
The ACB, which submitted its status report to state high court Monday, Tuesday said it was focusing on the real beneficiaries running the liquor shops in the names of people who hold white ration (below poverty line) cards.
"ACB is aware of the financially sound people owning white ration cards but that is not the focus of investigation. This irregularity will be taken care of by the district administration," the agency said in a statement here.
"ACB applied this primary filter only to initiate investigation and reach the core offenders who obtained licences in the name of innocent people with an intention to gain control over liquor trade in the districts," it added.
The ACB said it learnt that in some districts, the core offenders asked these innocent people to go on a "pilgrimage" and be not available for ACB investigation. It requested the local elders to counsel them not to be afraid of ACB but to assist in investigation.
The investigations revealed that over 60 percent of license holders in Srikakulam, East Godavari, Nellore, Chittoor, Kadapa and Kurnool districts possess white ration cards.
The high court Monday asked the ACB to rope in income tax department in the investigations to probe how white card holders managed to mobilize the huge money required for the liquor shop licenses.
The case has political ramifications as it allegedly involves some top politicians including a few ministers. The liquor traders are allegedly paying huge money to politicians, excise and police officials to cover up their irregularities.
The court has also asked the government to reconsider the transfer of ACB additional director Srinivas Reddy, who was heading the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the scam.
The opposition parties alleged that the government transferred the official to shield ministers involved in the scam.