Thiruvananthapuram: Former chief minister Oommen Chandy has demanded a judicial probe into the sanction given to the new distilleries and breweries in the state.
He told reporters at the Press Club here on Friday that there was no transparency in the process of allotting distilleries. “I have seen the rebuttal by both Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Excise Minister T.P. Ramakrishnan. The chief minister said the LDF does not indulge in corruption. It is just a claim, which he could not substantiate,” said Mr Chandy.
The policy was not discussed in the LDF or the cabinet. This was not an allegation made by the UDF. Even CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran has said so, Mr Chandy added.
“This is a clear dilution of the LDF's liquor policy of promoting abstinence. Is the LDF government bringing down liquor availability by opening new distilleries and breweries?" he asked.
There was no mention of the move to allot distilleries even in the LDF election manifesto. As per a 1999 order, no new distillery or brewery can be opened. No government has given sanction to any distilleries after this order. “But the present government is quoting the same order of 1999 to justify its decision,” he said.
One person was given licence to open a brewery at KINFRA Park, Ernakulam. He was even provided 10 acres of KINFRA land. However, the decision to allot land was not published on the website, he said.
One company was given licence to open a distillery in Thrissur district. However, the location for the same was not mentioned in the order. This was also a clear violation of the prevailing norms, he said.
There was no advertisement in newspapers about the matter. How did these four companies come to know that breweries and distilleries were being allocated, Mr Chandy asked....