Liquor worth Rs 5L seized from Gandhian institution

Representative Image. DH photo

Liquor worth over Rs 5 lakh has been seized from an institution founded by Mahatma Gandhi in Gujarat's Rajkot district, police said on Sunday.

Expressing concern over the incident, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said such activities "tarnish Gandhi's ideas".

Acting on a tip-off, the police on Friday raided a room in the staff quarters of Rajkot-based Rashtriya Shala, an institution set up in 1921 to impart education in Gandhian concepts, and seized more than 700 bottles of liquor worth over Rs 5 lakh from there, police inspector N K Jadeja said.

"We have arrested one person, identified as Sanjay Daxini, in this connection. The shala has nothing to do with the seizure," he said.

Mahatma Gandhi had allotted quarters to several families when the institution was set up. Most of those families still continue to stay there, the official said.

When asked about the raid, Rupani said it is sad that liquor has been seized from the Rashtriya Shala, which was the "karmabhoomi" of Mahatma Gandhi and his wife Kasturba Gandhi.

"These kinds of activities hurt Mahatma Gandhi's ideas. Institutions founded by Gandhi should work properly and ensure that his ideas do not get tarnished. The trustees of such institutions and those responsible for their administration should take this seriously," he told reporters.

The institution in Rajkot imparts vocational training and carries out various projects, including khadi and cotton weaving, and manual oil pressing. The state tourism department has been promoting it as a part of the 'Gandhi circuit'.

Gujarat is a dry state where sale, purchase and consumption of liquor are prohibited.

On Saturday, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot criticised the Rupani-led government overconsumption of liquor in the dry state.

"I can't believe liquor is consumed in Gandhi's Gujarat. (Rupani) should have consulted chief ministers of states like Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab, and asked them to try and ensure that liquor (from those states) does not enter Gujarat," Gehlot said at a rally in Ahmedabad.

Rupani later challenged Gehlot to enforce liquor prohibition in his own state.

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