HC says no to Anna's PIL on liquor production from foodgrains

Justice S B Deshmukh of the division bench, recused himself from the case saying 'not before me'. He, however, did not cite any reason for not hearing the plea.

The PIL which came up yesterday before the bench led by Justice Sharad Bobde, will now be listed before another division bench most probably after the summer vacation.

The petitioners also including renowned social workers Dr Abhay and Rani Bang, Dr Prakash Amte, Dr Narendra Dabholkar, Dr Anil Awchat, Hiraman Wankhede and Sachin Tiwale moved the court over the government's decision to issue licenses to the wards of influential politicians to produce alcohol from foodgrains.

They questioned the decision of the Congress-led Democratic Front (DF) government to offer grants to projects involved in production of alcohol.

The PIL alleged that Amit Deshmukh, son of Union Rural Development Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh along with Pratapsinh Patil, BJP leader Gopinath Munde's daughter Shweta Palwe, NCP leader Govindrao Adik, and former state Health minister Vimal Mundada are directly or indirectly engaged in making alcohol from foodgrains.

All of them were made respondents in the case along with the government and the State Excise Department Commissioner.

The other respondents included Yashraj Ethanol Procession, Mallikarjun Distilleries, Shahapur Distilleries, Grainotch Industries, Radico NV Distilleries, Vitthal Distilleries, Adlars Bio-energy, Jogeshwari Beverages, Pranav Agrotech, Victoria Agro Food Processing, Alco Plus Producers and Pionium Industries.

The government had promised to review the policy, but later granted licences and grants to politicians or their sons, the PIL said.

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