The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday attached assets worth nearly Rs 40 crore of alleged Daman-based liquor mafia Ramesh Patel alias Michael and his wife Bhanuben, and also impounded their 11 bank accounts having Rs 1.13 crore in deposits. Michael and his wife have been accused of smuggling liquor into Gujarat, a dry state.
The ED had started its probe based on at least 30 cases filed against Michael, his wife and others by the Gujarat Police under various sections of the Prohibition Act and the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Daman police too had filed a case against Bhanuben following a complaint from the Excise department. During the investigation, the ED officials had carried out a search on the residential and business premises of Michael and his alleged accomplices in Daman. The officials had seized three luxury cars worth more than Rs 2 crore and Rs 68 lakh cash.
The ED officials had also detected a “shortage” of liquor worth around Rs 7.10 crore from the licenced premises of M/S Damania Enterprises, owned by the couple. Besides, they found a liquor consignment worth Rs 2.53 crore illegally stocked at their warehouse.
According to the investigators, Michael’s wife too was actively involved in the illicit liquor business. In a statement following the raids, the ED had said that “they (Michael and Bhanuben) have surfaced as the main supplier of IMFL from where the said liquor is smuggled in bulk quantity to Gujarat through local bootleggers despite the fact that the IMFL supplied by distilleries to wine shops owners in Daman is for sale in Daman only.” They are also accused of forging documents.