A complaint has been filed against Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah-headed excise department with the Anti-Corruption Bureau police here by an outfit alleging graft in the renewal of licences for liquor vendors. The complaint was lodged by Lanchamuktha Karnataka Nirmana Vedike–a forum claiming to strive for a corruption-free Karnataka–member Ravi Krishna Reddy.
It alleged that the excise department headed by the chief minister “deliberately and wrongly” refused to renew the licences of some vendors for the current Excise Year, which in the state began on July 1, with the “sole intention of subsequently extracting bribes.”
“As anti-corruption activists, we have come across disturbing information that the excise department has already indulged in widespread corruption in the whole exercise of renewing and cancelling liquor licenses,” it alleged adding more than 3,000 shops had been refused renewal of licence.
In a few cases, the department had deliberately and wrongfully refused to renew the licenses with the sole intention of subsequently extracting bribes from vendors, the complaint alleged. It claimed the department was demanding huge sums of money to renew licences on the ‘frivolous pretext’ that the shops fell under within 500 metres of highways.
Reddy said he would move the Supreme Court if the ACB refuses to take the complaint seriously or initiate an enquiry. Since the Chief Minister is heading the department, he is duty bound to answer the charges, he added.