The Crime Branch of the Delhi Police has named Delhi transport minister Kailash Gahlot’s brother Harish Gahlot in an FIR registered in a case of smuggling of alcohol. Harish Gahlot was allegedly smuggling illegal consignment alcohol inside Delhi before the polling of Delhi Assembly Elections 2020 on Saturday, February 8. The FIR was registered under sections 33, 38 and 68 of the Delhi Excise Act, 2009.
The Excise department had reportedly seized a pickup truck with bottles of alcohol with ‘for sale in Haryana only’ printed on it on February 6, from Old Dal Mill Complex, village Mitrau, Nafarganj, News Delhi, merely 2 days prior to the polling in the Delhi Assembly elections. Two persons, Ravinder Singh and Virender Singh were arrested along with the vehicle. These suspects have now revealed before the Delhi Crime branch that the alcohol was being supplied on the directions of Kailash Gahlot’s brother Harish Gahlot.
Notably, the AAP minister Kailash Gahlot also represents the Najafgarh constituency of New Delhi and the sitting MLA from the constituency. Gahlot is also the Transport & Environment minister of Delhi. Further investigation revealed that these illegal consignments of liquor were being smuggled into Delhi to be distributed in the elections.
The FIR says that the liquor was to be distributed during the Delhi elections at the behest of Aam Aadmi Party leader Kailash Gahlot’s brother and Harish Gehlot. It says that the liquor was to be distributed among the voters to influence them.
Although the FIR has been filed against Ravinder and Virender, it mentions that they were transporting the 15 cartons of liquor on the instructions of Harish Gahlot. Each carton contained 48 quarter bottles of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL). Police have seized and sealed the cartons, after taking one bottle from each cartons as sample for testing.
Liquor was reportedly being supplied by Haryana Liquor Barron Balbir Mann. Balbir is the owner of an L1 liquor shop in Gurgaon.
At the time when liquor was seized, Harish Gehlot was not present there. Briefing on the issue, the Delhi Police Crime Branch officials have said that a notice will be issued to Harish Gehlot soon. While the police might arrest Harish Gahlot, AAP minister Kailash Gehlot may be summoned for questioning.
The two brother’s Kailash and Harish Gahlot have had a very intriguing past. Last year, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had seized assets worth Rs 1.46 crore belonging to Harish Gahlot, brother of Aam Admi Party (AAP) MLA Kailash Gahlot. As per the investigation initiated under FEMA then, Harish Gehlot had allegedly held assets worth Rs 1.46 crore in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which was in violation of section 4 of the FEMA.
In October 2018, the I-T Department had seized assets worth Rs 2 crores which included unaccounted jewellery worth Rs 28 lakhs and Rs 37 lakh in cash from AAP MLA Kailash Gahlot and his wife.
Moreover, in the past, it was alleged that Kailash Gehlot had misbehaved with a female IAS officer and insulted her in front of subordinates. The statement also claimed that the minister threatened to have the officer implicated in false cases.
It is interesting that a minister with such contentious past not only represents the Najafgarh constituency of New Delhi on AAP ticket but also remains to be a cabinet minister of Arvind Kejriwal led Delhi government.