Rawat changed liquor policy under a deal, we want probe: BJP

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Dehradun, April 20: Uttarakhand BJP today alleged former chief minister Harish Rawat changed the state's liquor policy in 2014 under some "under-table deal" and demanded a probe.

State BJP spokesperson Munna Singh Chauhan told a press conference the policy implemented in 2014 "ousted" the "good and standard" brands from market and led to an annual loss of Rs 500 crore to the excise department.

uttarakhand

The former chief minister has defended his policy changes and denied the charges. "This change in the policy was effected to benefit two big liquor barons," Chauhan alleged without naming the businessmen.

"Harish Rawat changed the excise policy under some under-table deal and we want answer from him," he claimed. He alleged Rawat shunned open bidding process and allowed "two vendors" to do the business.

"When we opposed his decision (in 2014), he handed over the entire business to mandi parishad and told them verbally to purchase the liquor from these two companies only," Chauhan claimed. "And this led to ouster of big liquor brands from the state's market," he further claimed.

The two companies registered heavy increases in their profit last year and it should also be probed, he demanded.

Chouhan thanked Governor K K Paul for annulling the changes Rawat brought and reimplementing the previous policy. Meanwhile, replying to the BJP charges, Rawat said the recent changes were done "at the behest of BJP to thank the liquor syndicate for its role" in dismissal of his government.

"The change in the policy was surely made to benefit the liquor syndicate for their role in horse-trading of MLAs," he said.

PTI

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