Why did tourism dept get involved in liquor policy, asks Satheesan as Cong targets ministers Rajesh, Riyas

Leader of the Opposition V D Satheesan. Photo: Manorama

Kochi: The opposition Congress has thrown six questions to the Left government in Kerala on the controversy over proposed revisions in liquor policy, alleging that Excise Minister MB Rajesh and Tourism Minister PA Mohammed Riyas has been "lying" to the public.
Leader of the Opposition, VD Satheesan on Sunday said the ministers' statements that they have not held discussions with anyone including bar owners over policy revisions is a blatant lie.

“For the past two months, there have been consultations on the liquor policy. At the monthly meeting convened by the chief secretary earlier last month, the tourism secretary was tasked to submit a report on the change in liquor policy. Bar owners also participated in the meeting called by the tourism department on May 21,” Satheesan told media at his office in Paravur.
"I have the link of the meeting held on Zoom. In that meeting, discussions were held on ‘dry day’ and extending the opening hours of bars. Following this, a meeting of bar owners was held in Ernakulam and instructions were given to collect money to get the policy revised in favour of them. The ministers’ statement that no consultation took place is a lie," he added.

The issue of withdrawal of the 'dry day' policy snowballed into a controversy after an audio clip purportedly of a bar association member allegedly asking other members to pay money for a 'favourable liquor policy', was aired on TV channels.

The six questions posed by the opposition leader to the government are:
1. Why did the tourism department get involved in liquor policy surpassing the excise department?
2. Why did the tourism department show unnecessary haste in the matter?
3. Why did both ministers lie that no discussion took place?
4. Isn't the excise minister's complaint to Director general of police (DGP) aimed to distract people’s attention from corruption? An inquiry is announced against whoever makes the allegation.
5. The Oommen Chandy government announced a vigilance investigation when there were allegations of bar bribery against (then finance minister) K M Mani. Why isn’t the Pinarayi government adopting that model?
6. Why is the chief minister silent despite serious allegations have propped against his government?

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