Pune Porsche Crash Case: Ravindra Dhangekar, Sushma Andhare Accuse Excise Officials Of Collecting ₹70-80 Lakh 'Haftas' Monthly From Pubs, Bars (VIDEO)

Pune Porsche Crash Case: Ravindra Dhangekar, Sushma Andhare Accuse Excise Officials Of Collecting ₹70-80 Lakh 'Haftas' Monthly From Pubs, Bars (VIDEO)

Congress MLA Ravindra Dhangekar and Shiv Sena (UBT) Deputy Leader Sushma Andhare took a protest march to the State Excise Department Superintendent Charansing B Rajput's office

IANSUpdated: Monday, May 27, 2024, 05:48 PM IST
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Pune Porsche Crash Case: Ravindra Dhangekar, Sushma Andhare Accuse Excise Officials Of Collecting ₹70-80 Lakh 'Haftas' Monthly From Pubs, Bars (VIDEO) | X@DhangekarINC

Amid the ongoing probe into the Pune Porsche crash, the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) on Monday alleged that bribes had changed hands between the officialdom and the bars and pubs in the city.

Congress MLA Ravindra Dhangekar and Shiv Sena (UBT) Deputy Leader Sushma Andhare took a protest march to the State Excise Department Superintendent Charansing B Rajput's office to register a complaint and highlight the corrupt practices prevalent there.

The protest procession showed the two leaders and a social crusader Mohan Joshi, displaying wads of currency notes, a box (khokha, slang for crore rupees) with a minister's photo and a sack with '50 khokha' scrawled on it, against the backdrop of the Porsche car crash that killed two 24-year-old techies on May 19.

The trio of Dhangekar-Andhare-Joshi accused the state excise officials of collecting huge bribes, over ₹70-80 lakh per month, as 'hafta' (bribe instalment) from various big and small bars and pubs in and around Pune to operate unhindered and to ignore any illegalities perpetrated by them.

When Rajput vehemently denied the allegations, Andhare and Dhangekar produced a purported 'black list' of many of the bars-pubs, names of certain officials, plus the alleged amounts of bribes doled out by the bars-pubs to the concerned officers to wink at the shady goings-on.

"Don't deny this. Here is the list of the officers and the establishments which pay regular 'haftas' to your department. Runs into ₹70-80 lakhs per month and crores of rupees annually. You think you are very smart by destroying Pune. Don't you feel ashamed?" said Dhangekar.

"Whenever we raise such issues of corruption, the government threatens to file police and defamation cases against us. We have done our work thoroughly. We have the lists, many videos of bribery, and how some officials even take money through online apps," said Andhare.

Stoutly denying the accusations by the trio, Rajput told media persons: "The accusations are false. Nobody takes bribes from anybody. We take action regularly against the bars-pubs. We shall enquire and if anyone is found guilty, we shall take action against them." He added that in the past one month or so, the State Excise Department has swooped down on various bars-pubs indulging in illegalities and filed 108 cases. Besides, 54 bars-pubs have been sealed in the last week since the Porsche accident and action is being initiated against many more establishments in the city, even as the government earned ₹500 as State Excise Duty, higher than the previous year.

Dhangekar and Andhare produced a purported 'black list' and reeled off the names of officials, including some cops, who allegedly 'collected' bribes on behalf of the seniors and the bars-pubs which regularly cough out the illegal gratification amounts -- ranging from ₹50,000 - ₹5,00,000 per month.

Quizzing Rajput, Dhangekar demanded to know if all the regulations are being followed, then why many of the bars-pubs in Pune remain open till 4am, flouting the police and Pune Municipal Corporation rules. Andhare pointed out that if drugs are being seized in Pune every 15 days or so, then "what are the concerned department officials doing, and whether the minister's orders are being ignored".

Targetting the government and a particular minister, Andhare said that whenever the Opposition highlighted these blatant irregularities, they were hounded with complaints and court cases and advised the ministers to rein in their lower officials instead of targeting opponents.

Last week, staffers and owners of various bars-pubs-restaurants had staged a sit-in protest against the police and leaders of Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (SP), Shiv Sena (UBT), CPI(M) and others for hounding them though they were doing their duty of serving the customers and were not responsible for any disasters that occur outside their establishments.

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