Bangalore;August 2;The Lokayukta police on Friday conducted State-wide raids on the offices of excise Deputy Commissioners, in the wake of complaints received about harassment to the public to issue licences. In the process, the police have recovered money running into lakhs of rupees and other relevant documents.
Simultaneous raids were conducted in 13 places across Bangalore, Mysore, Bidar and Hubli. In Bangalore alone, the police are said to have recovered more than 283 sets of documents pertaining to issue of licences to bars and restaurants and recovered a total of Rs 2.87 lakh. Police have also seized blueprints of bars, something that is to be returned to the owners as and when the licence is granted. “We have raided these offices before. But this time, we were aiming for these blueprints, which are kept with the officers even after the renewal of licences. This is done only to extract money from the owners,” said, Lokayukta Additional Director General of Police, H N Sathyanarayana Rao.
In the City, police raided four excise offices of North, West, South and East, located on Malleswaram, JC Road and Indiranagar. In South office located on JC Road, police seized Rs 2.79 lakh from a clerk, who tried to stash the money under the almirah as soon as he saw the Lokayukta police.
The last day for issual of licences is June 30. Sources in the Lokayukta said all blueprints of bars are returned along with the licence renewals and keeping it back clearly indicated that it was not accidental. The team was led by Lokayukta SP Iada Martin Marbaniang and consisted of DySPs VPM Swamy, M Narayan and Palakshaiah and others. Incidentally, the Lokayukta police had conducted raids on these offices in June 2012 on the same excise and made arrests as well. However, Lokayukta police themselves admitted that nothing seemed to have changed in the manner of functioning of the offices, despite these raids.
In a simultaneous operation, Lokayukta police raided the offices of deputy commissioners of excise in Mysore and Chamarajanagar. A first divisional assistant (FDA) was also arrested in Mysore office.
Lokayukta SP S M Jagadish Prasad told Deccan Herald that following complaints of gross violations in the interiors of the pubs, the raids were conducted in both the districts. Ravi, the FDA had Rs 40,000 in his possession, when the police raided the office at Kuvempunagar in the city. The staffer had stashed the cash in an almirah. When sought an explanation, he claimed innocence saying it was given to him by his elder brother. The investigators contacted his brother over phone, who replied in the negative stating that he had not seen his brother for the past five days. Documents pertaining to some pubs were also seized. Deputy Commissioner Y Manjunath had gone to Bangalore on work at that time. At Chamarajanagar, though some of the documents were inspected, no arrests were made, the SP added.
The officer said it was an extended operation after a similar raid on the Mysore office several months ago, following the allegations of irregularities reported during the renewal of licences of wine stores, bars and restaurants and pubs.
Searches were still being carried on, late Friday night in several of the places.