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Friday, August 9, 2019

Doda in jail, his business thriving


Doda in jail, his business thriving

Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service
Moga, August 8

Liquor baron Shiv Lal Doda, a close confident of SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, and 24 others today got life imprisonment in the brutal murder of Bheem Tank, a 27-year-old Dalit youth, in December 2015.

Born in a poor family, he used to sell ice near the bus stand in Abohar town of Fazilka, but he ran away from the town after he and his brother were accused of stabbing their neighbour with an ice pick in 1985.

Doda was let off by the court in this crime, but he left his hometown to live in Gurgaon. His brother Ved Doda was convicted, but after his release they became liquor contractors in Abohar. Later, Ved was murdered along with his wife in 2002.

In 1995-1996, Dodas got registered a firm named Gagan Wine Trade with its address at a farmhouse in Delhi. After the end of militancy in Punjab, there was a boom in the liquor trade. They capitalised on this boom and became liquor barons.

From 2002 to 2007, they did not have much stakes in the liquor business because the then Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh preferred to give liquor business to Ponty Chadha, one of his close friends. When the Akalis came to power in 2007, the Doda family came in contact with then Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and benefitted a lot in the liquor business. Shiv Lal Doda made huge profits during the Akali regime and set up many firms and companies.

Althoug he was a man of the BJP, but the Akalis used him in the local politics. Doda contested the 2012 Assembly elections from Abohar backed by the Akalis and secured more than 45,000 votes.

He also capitalised his political connections to build a huge business empire in and outside the state. From time to time, they also diversified from liquor to real estate business. They also sponsored film industry. During the Harish Rawat government in Uttarakhand, the Doda family earned huge stakes in the liquor business. They also established many liquor manufacturing firms and bottling plants taking advantage of tax benefits.

Doda and one of his nephews Amit Doda are behind the bar for the past four years, but their business grew uniformly as compared to the previous years. Thanks to the political patronage he still enjoys in Punjab, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and other states. Even as it is an open secret that state Congress chief Sunil Jakhar played a big role in the arrest of Shiv Lal Doda in this murder case, his business continued to grow under the Congress government as well during the past few years. He still has a huge stake in the liquor business in the state.

Bheem Tank, a young Dalit, who once worked for Doda in his liquor vends, quit the job six months before he was brutally murdered in 2015. Tank also had 10-12 criminal cases pending against him. A rape case was registered against him on the day of his murder. Tank’s mother Kaushalya claimed that on the night of December 10, 2015, Harinder Singh Harry, an employee of Doda, called Bheem to come for a meeting at Doda’s farmhouse on the outskirts of Abohar city. They were forcing Bheem to work for them, but he refused due to which he was allegedly murdered by them.


High stakes in liquor trade

Even as it is an open secret that state Congress chief Sunil Jakhar played a big role in the arrest of Shiv Lal Doda, his business continued to grow under the Congress government as well during the past few years. He still has a huge stake in the liquor business in the state

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