The opposition on Monday slammed Excise Minister Shambhuraj Desai’s statement that the government was considering slapping Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) charges on people bringing even a single liquor bottle into the state from Goa.
On Sunday, Desai reportedly said individuals bringing even a single bottle of alcohol from Goa will be picked up by police and charges under MCOCA will be filed against them. But on Monday, Desai’s office said the minister’s remarks should not be taken literally and no such proposal is being considered.
“It was to discourage people from bringing alcohol from Goa. The minister understands the meaning of MCOCA and it won’t applied to individuals. But the intention was to make residents aware about the issue,” said an official from the minister’s office.
But Maharashtra Congress general secretary Sachin Sawant said, “The MCOCA is meant to be applied for organsied crime. Has the Shinde government decided to apply it as per the minister’s wishes? Have they lost the meaning of the Act? If not, what was the intention to make such a statement?”
To curb the smuggling of Indian Made foreign liquor (IMFL) from other states, the Maharashtra government had slashed excise duty on foreign liquor by 50 per cent in November 2021. The then state finance minister Ajit Pawar had said the decision was taken to stop smuggling of liquor from other states as well as to curb the sale of spurious liquor.