PUDUCHERRY: Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi on Saturday referred a complaint of alleged malpractices during the lockdown in the government run Pondicherry Distilleries Limited (PDL) at Ariyapalayam, a blending and bottling unit of arrack, to the CBI for a probe.
AIADMK MLA Vaiyapuri Manikandan, in his complaint to the Lt Governor seeking a CBI inquiry, claimed that during the lockdown the entire stock of PDL was sold in the black market by the authorities for a huge sum of money, causing a considerable loss to the government.
PDL procures 6 to 10 lakh litres of concentrated Rectified Spirit (RS) every month. This is diluted with water and then on the production of arrack is bottled in the distillery for sale to licensed arrack shops in Puducherry and Karaikal. While all the arrack and liquor shops in Puducherry were sealed during the lockdown, the distillery was not sealed by the authorities, alleged Manikandan. Just before the lockdown was imposed, PDL had procured 10 lakh litres of RS in six tankers, he said.
Meanwhile, Congress MLA V Vizeaveny, who is the chairman of PDL, told reporters that on the directions of the excise minister, district collector who is also the excise commissioner and deputy commissioner (excise), RS has been supplied from the distillery to authorised vendors for production of hand sanitizers.
Stating that the allegations of Manikandan were false, she said that being a government distillery, arrack can be supplied only through a permit issued by the excise department. She challenged Manikandan to quit politics if his allegations were proved false while offering to resign if the charges were proved.
Manikandan is levelling baseless allegations to malign the reputation of the Congress government and the distillery, she said, adding that it was out of political vendetta as she had lodged a complaint against him with the speaker which is still pending. If he continued with the allegation, Vizeaveny said she will lodge a complaint with the National Scheduled Caste Commission. She has been elected from Nettapakkam (SC) constituency.