Amidst the ongoing investigation into the alleged liquor scam committed by the Delhi AAP government, with leaders like Manish Sisodia and Satyendra Jain incarcerated for long now, and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal facing repeated ED summons, troubles seem to be mounting further for the Kejriwal-led party, with an IAS officer found ‘pressurizing’ a subordinate officer into collecting money from retail liquor vendors, at the behest of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.
The Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi, VK Saxena, has ordered an FIR to be registered against the IAS officer, Amarnath Talwade, and has recommended disciplinary action against him to the Ministry of Home Affairs. Talwade is currently posted in Arunachal Pradesh.
This matter has once again exposed the deep-rooted nexus of the AAP government in Delhi with liquor vendors/mafia.
The present case pertains to the year 2015-16, when Talwade, during his stint as Senior General Manager of Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd (DSCSC), had pressurized the then Manager of DSCSC, PK Shahi (now retired), to ‘collect more money’ from vendors by threatening him of a ‘transfer’. The action followed after an audio clip of the two officers’ telephonic conversation surfaced which was later authenticated by the FSL as genuine and un-doctored.
In the audio clip, Talwade also admitted to have received Rs 5 lakh from Shahi, soon after he took charge of the DSCSC. Talwade was posted in DSCSC from 12 January, 2015 to 29 April, 2016.
A complaint in this regard was filed by a resident of Noida on 21 March, 2023, along with a pen drive containing the audio clip, to the DoV. The complainant alleged that the conversation between an IAS officer and an Inspector pertained to ‘sharing of booty’ in some excise matters. After preliminary investigation, the DoV ascertained that the said IAS officer was Amarnath Talwade and the other subordinate officer was PK Shahi.
In the audio recording, Talwade is heard demanding 35 percent of the total collection, which he has committed to Kejriwal. To this, Shahi tells Talwade that he could arrange only 15 percent due to two consecutive ‘dry months’, where collection was almost nil.
On the directions of the Chief Secretary, the DoV sent the audio clip to FSL Delhi, which on 28 November, 2023, submitted its examination report, saying that there was no indication of any form of alteration in the audio recording.
The matter was referred to the Law Department, GNCTD, which opined that it was a fit case for the registration of an FIR, as the information provided by the source was not vague or cryptic and did not lack essential details, and the information related to the commission of a cognizable offence.
Subsequently, the DoV proposed the matter to be referred to the ACB for registration of an FIR and appropriate disciplinary action against Talwade, and submitted the proposal for the LG’s approval. The LG, while according his approval, has also expressed displeasure over delay in the case despite clinching evidence against the officer in the form of audio recording.