Republican Party of India-A leader Ramdas Athawale courted controversy Tuesday after he said the government must think of legalising sale of illicit liquor if it could not act against it. Athawale’s statement comes at a time when the government has launched a massive crackdown on illicit liquor dens across the state.
Athawale, however, said it had been generally noticed that “these liquor place spring up again following such crackdowns due to connivance of local police and excise officials”.
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“If you can’t shut these down, the alternative is to regulate the trade. It will also bring revenue to the state coffers. That way, the government can frame rules regarding sale of hooch,” Athawale said. He added, “The state has already permitted and legalised trade of country liquor. But if people are still looking for a cheaper alternative, even this trade must be regulated.”
Sensing that his remarks had sparked a row, Athawale later said his statement never meant support for “hooch consumption”.