Updated: August 11, 2021 8:41:32 am
A stack of empty liquor bottles were recovered from the ground floor of Mantralaya on Tuesday, resulting in the BJP to attack the Maha Vikas Aghadi government and seeking an explanation on how liquor was smuggled into a high security area.
The bottles were found lying under the staircase leading to the canteen on the ground floor of the Mantralaya, where offices of the chief minister, ministers, the chief secretary and other bureaucrats are located. The incident has raised questions about the apparent loopholes in the security system at the state government’s seat of power.
Maintaining that Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray must answer how the liquor bottles entered Mantralaya, BJP vice-president Chitra Wagh said, “This is very sad and make our heads hang in shame. Due to Covid-19, visitor entry has been stopped in Mantralaya… it is quite difficult to enter.”
“In the last one-and-a-half years, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has not visited Mantralaya,’’ he added.
A senior PWD official said, “I have visited the place where the bottles were found. They were was in a shaft, which was locked. The only place from where the bottles can be thrown is the canteen. But the bottles would have broken if thrown from such a height . Our initial assessment is that the bottles were planted… The home department will investigate.’’
When contacted, Deputy Commissioner of Police Deepak Sakore, in charge of Mantralaya security, said an inquiry is on.
Speaking to a regional news channel, Minister of State for General Administration Dattatray Bharane suspected the role of private contractors and labourers who visit the Mantralaya for construction works in bringing in the liquor bottles. “It is my personal opinion that the bottles could have been brought inside the Mantralaya by employees of some private contractors carrying out various works in the premises. I will inform Home Minister Dilip Walse Patil about the dumping of liquor bottles,” he added.
Bharne said a detailed investigation will be conducted and the guilty will face stringent action. “No person can enter the Mantralaya without a valid pass issued by security officials,” he said when asked whether the incident is a security lapse.
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