Cheers! Karnataka excise officials keep liquor in office to meet minister's 'high' demands
May, 05th 2012
Karnataka's Excise Minister M.P. Renukacharya Officers of the excise department in Karnataka are compelled to stock liquor bottles in their office. The reason: former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa's crony and excise minister M P Renukacharya can order them to send him expensive foreign liquor whenever he feels like.
This startling disclosure was made by a deputy commissioner of the excise department after the Lokayukta raided his office in Bangalore and discovered 20 bottles of expensive liquor as well as unaccounted cash amounting to Rs 25,000. He was arrested on March 22 by the police wing of the Lokayukta.
In his detailed submission to the Lokayukta, L N Mohan Kumar, deputy commissioner (East Zone), excise department, Bangalore, claimed that the liquor bottles found in his office were meant for the excise minister.
Between March 17 and 22, the BJP government in the state was facing a crisis with Yeddyurappa herding all the MLAs to a 5-star resort on the city's outskirts. Renukacharya was at the forefront of the BJP camp supporting Yeddyurappa.
"Please check the call records of the excise department between March 19 and 21 to get to the bottom of the truth. The duration of the calls, several times during those three days, makes it clear that the minister had instructed (excise officers) for foreign liquor," Kumar said in his statement.
Kumar alleged that he was being targeted because he spoke the truth. "The deputy commissioners of excise department in the city and the excise inspector, Ashok Nagar, who were also raided that day, had stocked liquor bottles to be sent to the minister. But they were spared by the Lokayukta police after they told them that the bottles were gifts," he further alleged.
When the Lokayukta questioned Renukacharya, who is not in the good books of Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, he reportedly told them that he spoke to the deputy commissioners over the phone to discuss the state budget proposals.
However, Kumar contested the minister's statement because state budget proposals were discussed only with the excise department's commissioner and joint commissioners; the deputy commissioners were not involved in the matter.
The Lokayukta is pursuing the claims of the minister as well as the officer concerned. Renukacharya, a hardcore loyalist of Yeddyurappa, is one of the most vocal critics of Sadananda Gowda. He has criticized Gowda on several occasions for "backstabbing" Yeddyurappa. He became silent after RSS intervened and warned him of dire consequences.
Renukacharya has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in the last 6 years. The most famous among them was the case filed against him by his alleged girlfriend L A Jayalakshmi accusing him of threatening her.