Pune MLA Ravindra Dhangekar, Sushma Andhare Face Backlash As Shambhuraj Desai Plans To Issue Notice

Pune MLA Ravindra Dhangekar, Sushma Andhare Face Backlash As Shambhuraj Desai Plans To Issue Notice

Pune MLA Ravindra Dhangekar, Sushma Andhare Face Backlash As Shambhuraj Desai Plans To Issue Notice

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On Monday, Congress MLA Ravindra Dhangekar and Shiv Sena deputy leader Sushma Andhare led a protest march to the office of State Excise Department Superintendent Charansing B. Rajput, alleging widespread corruption within the department. They accused officials of accepting bribes from local clubs and bars to overlook illegal activities.

At a heated press conference, Dhangekar criticized the Pune police and the excise department, alleging that many clubs, including Dimora and Miller, generate Rs 70 lakh per week through illegal means. He named specific officers, such as Constable Surve, Balasaheb Rahul Ramnath, and Superintendent Charan Singh Rajput, accusing them of accepting bribes.

During the protest, Dhangekar, Andhare, and social crusader Mohan Joshi displayed wads of currency notes, a box with a minister’s photo, and a sack labeled ’50 khokha.’ Andhare read out a list of alleged bribes collected from various nightclubs, ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh per month, including establishments like The Mafia, Agent Jack’s, and Ballr.

Excise Department’s Response:

Rajput vehemently denied these allegations. Rajput stated that the department has been proactive in combating illegal activities, citing the registration of nearly 8,000 cases since his tenure began. He also highlighted recent actions against 54 bars and pubs in the past month, including sealing several establishments. “We take these allegations very seriously. If any wrongdoing is found, we will take immediate action,” Rajput asserted.

State Excise Minister Shambhuraj Desai responded firmly to Dhangekar’s allegations, stating that Dhangekar’s accusations were baseless and lacked evidence. Desai emphasized that his tenure has seen the most actions taken within the department. He challenged Dhangekar to provide any concrete evidence to the government if available.

Desai underscored that the department has taken significant action against illegal activities, citing the recent crackdown on 49 shops in the past two days. He accused the opposition of staging a media stunt and reiterated his commitment to transparency and accountability within the department.

The controversy comes in the wake of a tragic hit-and-run incident in Kalyaninagar, where a minor driving under the influence of alcohol collided with a bike, resulting in the deaths of two riders. This incident has intensified scrutiny on the regulation of alcohol-serving establishments and the enforcement of laws regarding underage drinking and driving.

Desai’s strong stance against the allegations reflects the ongoing political tension and the demand for accountability in addressing these critical issues. As the investigation proceeds, public and political leaders await further developments to address the claims of corruption within the state excise department.