Audio demanding Rs 2.5 lakh from bar owners for ‘favourable’ liquor policy surfaces in Kerala

Spread the love

Audio demanding Rs 2.5 lakh from bar owners for ‘favourable’ liquor policy surfaces in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: An audio asking all bar owners in the state to give Rs 2.50 lakh each for “favourable” liquor policies surfaced on Friday.

In the audio, Animon, the president of the Idukki- Federation of Kerala Hotel Association, who is also the vice president of the apex body of bar hotel owners, asked all bar owners in his district for “funds in exchange of favorable liquor policy for 2024-25”.

Generally, the annual liquor policy comes into effect from April 1 but this time as the the model code of conduct for the Lok Sabha polls is in force, it was deferred.

Few of the relaxations being expected in the new liquor policy are the lifting of dry days (i.e. on 1st of every calendar month, no retail liquor store, nor bars sell liquor) besides extending the timings for liquor sale at stores and bars.

Animon claimed that he is sending the audio message on the advice of the state president of the association V. Sunil Kumar.

However, Kumar denied Animon’s claims.

“When the Left government assumed office in 2016, there were only a few bars. At present, there are around 827 bar hotels, but no money has exchanged hands. In our association, there are 650 members and we are trying to buy a new building in the state capital city for which Rs 6.20 crore is required. We are now short of around a few crores and that’s why we have started a collection drive, Sunil Kumar said.

“Animon and few others are opposed to this building project, and we know he is trying to float a new organisation. Since this is against the rules of our association, Animon has been suspended and people like him can make any statements,” he said.

Veteran Congress legislator and former Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan said: “The Vijayan government is in the hands of the liquor traders.”

“The audio what all heard tells the tale,” said Radhakrishnan.

Incidentally, a similar audio that came out during the tenure of the then Oommen Chandy government ( 2011-16) and the after-effects of it, eventually led to the resignation of the then Excise Minister K. M. Mani in 2015.

Mani had to step down following a massive protest led by then CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, and strangely after the passing away of Mani, the party led by his son Jose K. Mani is now an ally of the Left government.


Spread the love