Maha excise minister appoints private vigilance agency to check corruption in his own department | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Maha excise minister appoints private vigilance agency to check corruption in his own department

The minister, while admitting that acceptance of bribes was rampant in his department, said that the agency will look into the officers’ wealth.

india Updated: Apr 20, 2017 13:17 IST
Yogesh Joshi
Maharashtra excise minister
Maharashtra excise minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule (left) is cracking down on corrupt officials in his department.(HT)

Concerned about the growing number of corruption cases in his own department, Maharashtra excise minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule said that his ministry has appointed a private vigilance agency to check the menace.

Bawankule, after meeting anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare at Ralegan Siddhi on Wednesday, confirmed that officers in state excise department are being probed by a private vigilance agency. While admitting that the “envelope system” – an oblique reference to bribes accepted by officials – was rampant in the department, Bawankule said that his ministry is collecting information about the wealth amassed by officials.

“The agency will also collect information about officials’ wealth and how much it has grown since he joined the department,” said Bawankule.

“Even after the new government came to power two and half years back, the envelope system is still rampant in the state. We will take every effort to end this,” he added.

Bawankule also rapped state excise officials for the Pangarmal illicit liquor incident in which eight persons lost their life after consuming country made liquor in January this year. “The Pangarmal incident could have been avoided. Henceforth, if there is a repeat of such an incident, we will hold all officials responsible for it.”

To keep a check on the sale and distribution of illicit liquor, the state government has amended the Maharashtra Prohibition Act that will empower the gram sabha to constitute a squad at village level. The squad referred as “Gram rakshak dal”, will help the excise department to curb the sale and distribution of illicit liquor.

According to Bawankule, the excise department officials will have to act on the complaint submitted by village level squad within 12 hours, or face action.