Mukesh Chawla stripped of excise and taxation portfolio

Published: October 5, 2014
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PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE Mukesh Chawla. PHOTO: EXPRESS FILE

KARACHI: The PPP-led Sindh government has stripped Mukesh Kumar Chawla of the Excise and Taxation portfolio over what the party’s senior leadership has termed the minister’s ‘negligence’ in issuing licenses to substandard wine shops in Hyderabad that lead to deaths of around 20 people in last five days.

Despite Sunday being a work holiday, the notification for Chawla’s removal was issued on the directive of Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah. The Ministry of Excise and Taxation will now be overlooked by Minister for Forests and Wildlife, Gyan Chand Asrani.

“The investigations had established that he [Chawla] started issuing the liquor permits, without even directing the officials under his ministry to visit the shops and carry out regular inspections,” a senior PPP leader and chief minister’s aide told The Express Tribune, while requesting anonymity.

The 40-year-old Jacobabad-born politician is presently residing in Karachi’s Defence Housing Authority area and had been in the good books of the PPP leadership for over a decade. He has been a member of Sindh Assembly on a minorities seat for the last three general elections, and had been serving as the excise and taxation minister for around six and a half years.

In 2013, Sindh Chief Minister had taken back the portfolio from Chawla, giving him with industries  instead but the notification was withdrawn within a matter of hours for undisclosed reasons.

During Chawla’s tenure as minister, the Sindh government had issued more licences to liquor shops than all the preceding governments over the past 60 years, sources in the office of the excise and taxation director general told The Express Tribune.

Meanwhile, excise and taxation department’s secretary Abdul Majeed Pathan said that the regional excise and taxation director, Agha Abdur Rehman, had also been removed from the office over the deaths in Hyderabad.

“Our intelligence team will map out the toxic liquor sales locations and this will be followed by a province-wide crackdown,” added Pathan.

Over 20 people have died due to the consumption of toxic liquor in the last five days and around 150 sellers and buyers of the hazardous substance have been arrested.

Police lodged 20 FIRs and nominated 22 suspects in the case, some of whom have been named in multiple FIRs, in eight police stations.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Justice Denied
    Oct 5, 2014 - 7:27PM

    Is this a joke? 20 people die due to his Negligence and he just gets stripped from his portfolio?
    A criminal case should be registered against him and he should get the deserving punishment! This is so absurd.

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  • Rumormonger
    Oct 5, 2014 - 9:12PM

    During Chawla’s tenure as minister, the Sindh government had issued more licences to liquor shops than all the preceding governments over the past 60 years

    After all he had to pay his benefactors!

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  • pkse
    Oct 5, 2014 - 11:18PM

    why should they not be arrested?

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  • Iqbal Hadi Zaidi
    Oct 5, 2014 - 11:52PM

    Did he mint all alone for himself without giving any thing to anyone? To my understanding he must be paying something to someone and if it is true then that someone must also be punished alike. Let the nation know who are behind the screen in this business. Iqbal Hadi Zaidi

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  • Parvez
    Oct 6, 2014 - 12:25AM

    Good example of PPP-Z governance…….shut the stable door after the horse has bolted.

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  • rare Sach
    Oct 6, 2014 - 11:48AM

    Wish you, Mr Noman had also put light on Corruption in E&T department.It has grown many many folds since last six plus years.
    Every post is sold. Every officer pays or he is without posting.
    Liquor business is main source of corruption. There were shops which had no premises but on paper they were open and selling liquor.
    Liqour shop workers say: ONLY corrupt people are posted in department. They will not work till you pay them as per their wishes…..

    Sindh is handed over to mighty corrupt forces to damage basic fabric of society and its consequences – many generation will suffer.

    hope next story you can do on these lines.

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