Minister's kin run Excise dept: Shettar

Minister's kin run Excise dept: Shettar

Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Jagadish Shettar on Monday alleged that Excise Minister Satish Jarkiholi’s relatives are harassing licensed sellers of liquor in the State.

Participating in a debate on the State budget for 2014-15 in the Assembly, he said the Excise department employees’ association on November 16, 2013, called a meeting of the licence-holders and gave them certain oral directions, including promoting certain brands of liquor. Two of the office-bearers of the association – Somashekar and Manjunath – are relatives of the Excise minister, he alleged.

“Who gave powers to the association to run the department? It is easy to guess as to what would have happened at the meeting. The licence-holders are being harassed,” Shettar alleged.

He said arrack is being sold in most places despite the ban, and it is rampant in Belgaum, the home district of Jarkiholi. Besides, sale of banned gutka and single-digit lottery is also rampant in the State, he said, adding that it is because the government has lost control over the administration.

Shettar demanded that three Cabinet ministers – Shamanur Shivashankarappa, Jarkiholi and Prakash Hukkeri, who own sugar factories – should be asked to resign immediately for not paying the government-fixed minimum purchase price to sugar cane farmers.

The BJP leader alleged that several politicians are into illegal sand mining. The sand mafia has ensured that prices remain high, as the government has become helpless.
 Congress leader Ramesh Kumar asked Shettar to reveal names of politicians involved in illegal mining. But the BJP leader said he would disclose the names at an appropriate time.

PWD Minister H C Mahadevappa said certain vested interests have been regulating sand prices. But the government has been taking all necessary steps to bring down the price, he added. Shettar blamed the government for being biased while releasing grants under the Central Road Fund. While Mysore (home district of Siddaramaiah) has been allotted Rs 133 crore, his (Shettar’s) home district of Dharwad has been given only Rs 25 crore.

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