Bangalore, June 21: Karnataka Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda today ordered a probe into alleged irregularities in the Excise Department in Dakshina Kannada district, according to JDS leader R Janardhan.
Janardhan claimed the Chief Minister told him government would probe the charges and that he had directed officials to submit a report in three days.
Speaking to reporters after submitting a memorandum to Gowda on the ‘irregularities,' he demanded removal of Excise Minister M P Renukacharya from the ministry, alleging he was hand-in-glove with excise officials and his inaction against corrupt excise officials was causing losses to the exchequer.
He also alleged that the excise officials were ‘extorting' money from liqour and wine shopowners for no tenable reasons.
However Renukacharya, a loyalist of former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, refuted the charges and said Gowda should have consulted him before taking a decision.
“Gowda should have consulted his cabinet colleague (me) before initiating a probe and asking my officials to submit a report on th issue in three days,” he said.
He claimed excise revenue has gone up and he had tightened administration to curb ‘violations' by liqour and wine shopowners. Speaking to reporters later, Ranukacharya took exception to the inquiry ordered by the Chief Minister and termed the complaint by the JDS leader as a “political conspiracy”.
But he added: “I am ready to face any enquiry”.
Slamming Sadananda Gowda, Renukacharya, a staunch Yeddyurappa loyalist, said: “He (Sadananda Gowda) is only the Chief Minister; he is not my leader”.
He said he has run the Excise Department exceptionally well and in a transparent manner in the last two-and-half-years, meeting annual revenue targets.
Renukacharya also charged the Chief Minister with refusing to convene a legislature party meeting to discuss grievances of the legislators.
Not even single such meeting was held in the last ten months, the Minister said, adding, refusal to hold it is against democratic principles, and curtails the rights of legislators.