Delhi

Excise officials caused ‘gains’ to vendors: DoV report

The DoV’s report deals at length with the “arbitrary and unilateral decisions” taken by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and the officials of the Excise Department, a Raj Niwas source said.

The DoV’s report deals at length with the “arbitrary and unilateral decisions” taken by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and the officials of the Excise Department, a Raj Niwas source said. | Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO

Excise Department officials made changes in provisions of the 2021-22 excise policy and executed it without the consent of the Council of Ministers or the Lieutenant-Governor (L-G), causing “windfall gains” to licensees and loss to the Delhi government, a source at the Raj Niwas said on Sunday.

The Raj Niwas source added that these details were part of the inquiry report of the Directorate of Vigilance (DoV), based on which L-G Vinai Kumar Saxena on Saturday approved suspension and disciplinary action against 11 excise officials.

The Raj Niwas source said that the DoV’s report deals at length with the “arbitrary and unilateral decisions” taken by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and the officials of the Excise Department.

This comes a day after Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia accused former L-G Anil Baijal of modifying the excise policy due to which liquor stores could not open in non-confirming areas, causing a loss of “thousands of crores of rupees” to the Delhi government.

A CBI inquiry has already been recommended by the L-G into the alleged violation of rules and procedural lapses in the implementation of the Excise Policy 2021-22,.

The findings of the inquiry report – on the levy of import pass fee and profit margin in case of foreign liquor, reduction in the number of dry days and extension of excise policy from April 1 to May 31, and again from June 1 to July 31 – highlight the reasons behind the loss of revenue to the government, said the Raj Niwas source.

Report’s findings

The inquiry report states that Excise Department officials on November 8, 2021, without approval from the Council of Ministers or the L-G, issued an order to revise the formula of calculation of rates of foreign liquor and remove the import pass fee levied at the rate of ₹50 per case on beer, leading to a reduction in the input cost of beer and foreign liquor to the retail licensees.

The Raj Niwas source said that the DoV’s report also states that the dry days were reduced from 21 to three and the excise license period was extended up to July 31, 2022, under the Excise Policy 2021-22. The Raj Niwas source added that these decisions were also taken without the approval of the Council of Ministers or the L-G.

Govt. response

Responding to the findings of the report, a Delhi government spokesperson said, “The L-G should explain why just 48 hours before the shops were supposed to be opened they changed their stand on the [excise] policy to favour select businesses and vendors. They must come clean as to why, and under whose pressure, did they deliberately cause a huge revenue loss to the elected government of Delhi. This is not the time to play the blame game, they owe an answer to the people of Delhi.”


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Printable version | Sep 3, 2022 6:05:25 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/excise-officials-caused-gains-to-vendors-dov-report/article65743227.ece