Indore: Shimla Gutkha proprietor moves court for interim bail
Indore: Shimla Gutkha proprietor Kishore Wadhwani on Monday moved a local court seeking an advance bail in a desperate bid to evade arrest in connection with the illegal tobacco factories allegedly owned by his group.
In the plea, which names Indore Excise Commissioner and Additional Commissioner Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI), Wadhwani has stated that he has no stake in the unauthorised gutkha and cigarette factories that have been raided and seized by the Central Excise Department, sources told Dainik Bhaskar.
He has also said that he works in the real estate sector, is a social worker and has no relations with a kin [Nitesh Wadhwani] whose name has figured in the episode, they added.
Speaking with Dainik Bhaskar, Excise Commissioner VK Verma confirmed that had received a copy of Wadhwani's interim bail plea.
He said the Excise Department would oppose Wadhwani's bail in court.
Earlier on Sunday, a Central Excise (intelligence wing) team continued its offensive against the illegal factories of Shimla group, raiding the Wadhwani House.
However, the team reportedly failed to recover any substantial document or proof against the group.
Neither Kishore Wadhwani nor his elder brother and other business partners were present during the raid, reports said.
In another related development, Excise sleuths pounded a godown at Sanwer Road. Several tonnes of raw cigarette making material were recovered during the raid. The consignment is said to belong to the Ellora Company.
During the simultaneous raids on Shivpuri, MSS Food Products and Ellora Tobbaco godowns, the officials received the information that owner of the brands reside in 64-B and 65-B Prem Nagar. House no. 64-B used to be the residence of Kishore Wadhwani sometimes back.
A team comprising 10 Excise officials was busy determining the actual weight of the raw material recovered during from the store house till the reports last came in. According to initial reports, the material is worth Rs 3 crore.
The crackdown on illegal tobacco units here started in mid-February when a central excise raided a gutka factory on Sanwer Road, discovering that it was evading Rs 5 crore in duties every month.
More than 40 illegal machines were seized from the factory, reportedly owned by Shimla Guthka’s Kishor Wadhwani.
The excise team, lead by Additional Commissioner Dr. RK Verma, also recovered from the site betel nuts, catechu powder and other material used for making guthka, the total cost of which is estimated to be Rs 5 crore.
Wadhwani, however, refused to comment on the entire episode.
According to central excise rules the owner of the factory can be arrested and asked to pay a penalty of Rs 120 crore.
Sources told Dainik Bhaskar that the flying squad was kept out of the raid as certain excise officials were suspected to be hand in glove with the guthka factory owner, who had until now used his political links to avoid a surprise inspection.