'Excise Minister's Relatives Harassing Liquor Vendors'
Demanding that the government withdraw the 5.5 per cent VAT imposed on liquor served in clubs, hotels, bars and restaurants, Leader of Opposition Jagadish Shettar on Monday alleged that vendors were being harassed to aggressively boost sales.
He claimed that the government was doing so as it feared it would not be able to meet the Excise Department’s revenue target of `12,600 crore for 2013-14.
Shettar was participating in a discussion on the recently-presented Budget.
He claimed there were instances of harassment and strong-arm tactics being used against liquor vendors by some relatives of Excise Minister Satish Jarkiholi. He said the Karnataka State Excise Employees’ Association had issued a notice to the Wine Merchants’ Association of Karnataka to discuss various issues related to the liquor trade. “After checking the background of the office-bearers of the Excise Employees’ Association, it was found that they are close relatives of the Excise Minister. What authority does this Association have to issue such a notice? They are misusing the government machinery and acting as extra constitutional authorities,” Shettar said.
Shettar also said these ‘extra-constitutional’ forces were even pressuring the vendors to push sales of brands produced by a particular distillery owned by a Congress leader.