L-G orders probe into liquor licence ‘graft’

V.K. Saxena had on Friday recommended a CBI probe into the Delhi government’s new excise policy.

V.K. Saxena had on Friday recommended a CBI probe into the Delhi government’s new excise policy. | Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO

Lieutenant-Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena on Monday ordered an investigation into “brazen and blatant corruption” by the Delhi government in awarding liquor licences under its revamped excise policy.

The investigation was ordered on the basis of a complaint alleging “cartelisation” of the liquor trade and involvement of blacklisted firms in liquor retail in the city.

The complainant

According to a source privy to the details, Mr. Saxena forwarded the complaint, made by an “organisation of jurists, lawyers and eminent citizens” alleging “grave irregularities” in the award of liquor licences, to Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar for an inquiry.

Mr. Kumar has been asked to submit a report on the issue to the L-G and the Chief Minister within a fortnight.

In response, the Delhi government stated, “We welcome any inquiry or investigation into the matter. We know there's no truth to the claims. The Delhi government will continue working for the welfare of the public.”

“The complaint has accused the Delhi government of facilitating monopolies and favouring blacklisted firms in deliberate and premeditated violation of the new excise policy. The L-G will take appropriate action as per law, on the basis of the report,” the source added.

“The identity of the complainant organisation is deliberately being withheld, at their request, to protect them from harassment, intimidation and abuse on social media platforms,” the source also said.

The complaint stated that retail liquor licences in more than two zones were allotted to a liquor manufacturing entity, which is against the rules.

The organisation has also claimed that a “blacklisted” promoter was allegedly granted a retail licence for liquor at five zones in Delhi and “blacklisted” entities from Madhya Pradesh were granted retail licences in the city.

“It is expected that the report by the Chief Secretary into the entire matter will bring the guilty to the book,” the source added.

BJP stages protest

Meanwhile, the BJP staged a protest outside AAP headquarters demanding the dismissal of Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who also holds the excise portfolio.

“People had to face severe oxygen shortage during the second wave of COVID-19, while the liquor cartel was given an exemption of ₹144.36 crore,” Mr. Gupta alleged.

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Printable version | Jul 26, 2022 11:29:19 am |