India's federal financial crime agency on Friday raided several liquor companies and suppliers and distributors in a money laundering investigation that the party ruling the capital has criticised as politically motivated, media reported.
The agency, the Enforcement Directorate (ED), is investigating suspected irregularities in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led Delhi government's liquor policy, after a government official issued a report in July in which he suggested the policy benefited private liquor retailers by offering them discounts at the cost of the exchequer, media reported.
Delhi's federally appointed lieutenant governor then recommended an investigation by the ED and the federal Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the policy.
Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia of the AAP denied allegations of wrongdoing but dropped the policy late in July after the lieutenant governor called for the investigation.
"More than 500 raids, for over three months more than 300 officials of the ED and CBI are working 24 hours to find evidence against Manish Sisodia," Delhi's chief minister and AAP head Arvind Kejriwal wrote on Twitter on Friday.
"They are not finding anything because (he) has done nothing. For your dirty politics you are wasting time of so many officials. How will a country like this progress?"
Telephone calls and a text message from Reuters to the ED's head office and an agency official went unanswered.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minster Narendra Modi has welcomed the investigation and levelled accusations of corruption against the AAP-led Delhi government.
The AAP - its name in Hindi means "common man" - emerged in 2012 out of an anti-corruption movement and went on to win power in the capital, home to 20 million people, in 2013.
In March, it swept a state assembly election in Punjab state, bolstering its hopes of becoming the main challenger to Modi's BJP in India's next general election, due by 2024.
The ED on Friday raided 35 locations in Delhi, Hyderabad, the capital of Telangana state, and in Punjab, media reported.
The AAP said it implemented the new policy with the aim of increasing government revenues and improving customer service at liquor shops.