Maharashtra government suspends FDA officer for threatening NCP leader Munde’s OSD
Munde says threat was made because he made a plea in the legislative council against the menace of gutkhamumbai Updated: Mar 17, 2018 01:12 IST
The state government has suspended a Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) official for threatening the Officer on Special Duty (OSD) of Dhananjay Munde, the leader of opposition in the state legislative council.
Munde said he had been threatened because he made a plea in the legislative council against the menace of gutkha and demanded a crackdown on the gutkha mafia.
Despite the gutkha ban, gutkha was being smuggled in from other states, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader had said then.
Munde said BJP legislator Sudhakar Bhalerao had brought FDA officer R D Akrupe to his official residence.
Munde said Akrupe threatened his OSD Bhambre for raising the gutkha issue in the council.
“This is simply not acceptable and strict action should be taken against the official,” the NCP leader said.
Wanting to know who was behind the officer’s misbehaviour, Munde demanded his suspension.
The opposition parties created a ruckus in the legislative council on Friday, forcing the house to be adjourned for some time.
Addressing the members of the legislative council, FDA minister Girish Bapat suspended Akrupe, a Bhiwandi-based FDA official, for threatening Bhambre.
Later in the day, member of legislative council Anil Parab (Shiv Sena) claimed that some gutkha brands are manufactured in slums in Mumbai.
He further said that gutkha from these brands contain “tails of dead lizards and other intoxicating chemicals.”
Offering to accompany Bapat to these slums, the Sena leader added that these illegal manufacturers have links with crime syndicates and other anti-social elements.
MCOCA to be invoked in gutkha cases?
The state government on Friday said that it could invoke the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) if needed against those who violate the gutkha ban in the state. Maharashtra banned the sale of gutkha and kharra in 2012, but its supply is still rampant in the state, said FDA minister Girish Bapat. “To prevent this, more stringent measures will be taken and amendments will be made in the law. The sale of gutkha in the state will be made a non-bailable offence. If convicted, the person will face a maximum of seven years imprisonment, and if needed the state will invoke MCOCA against the violators of the ban,” Bapat said while replying on the issue during question hour in the upper house. At present, the sale of gutkha is a bailable offence with punishment of a maximum of six months in prison. MCOCA is a law enacted by Maharashtra in 1999 to combat organised crime and terrorism.