Bhubaneswar: Seeking a clarification from Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, opposition Congress on Monday alleged that the state government`s bid to introduce e-tender for liquor shops` auction was thwarted by the CMO at the instance of the liquor lobby.
The issue was raised in the assembly by Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan quoting media reports.
"The state`s move to introduce e-tender process for auction of foreign and country liquor shops from next fiscal has been thwarted due to interference from Chief Minister`s Office (CMO)," Harichandan alleged.
As accusing fingers had been raised against the CMO, it was the responsibility of the Chief Minister to give a statement in this regard in the House, Harichandan said.
Stating that the state government at a meeting presided over by the Chief Secretary and attended by the Development Commissioner on January 21 had decided to introduce e-auction in liquor shop auction, Harichandan said that certain senior officers played a role in thwarting the effort.
"I do not know the exact amount of kickback in halting the e-tender process. But, I can say that there is corruption in liquor shop auction," the Congress chief whip said.
He alleged that the state government for last six years had been extending tenure of licence of liquor in different shops without conducting open tender.
The Congress leader pointed out that the government`s revenue collection from excise was less than Rs 900 crore by December 2012 against the target of Rs 1800 crore in 2012-13 fiscal.
Leader of opposition Bhupinder Singh also demanded a statement from the Chief Minister on the matter as the allegations had been made against CMO.