Though Rajasthan government has been cracking down on the sale of spurious liquor following the death of 15 people in Barmer, the state-owned Rajasthan State Ganganagar Sugar Mills has been selling country liquor beyond the expiry date from its depots, a CAG report has revealed.
A recent Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report tabled in Rajasthan assembly said that country liquor stored in three government depots were found unfit for consumption.
Liquor has been a hot-button issue in Rajasthan, whose excise policy focuses on generating additional revenue by heavily taxing liquor — from distillers and brewers to liquor shops.
Former MLA Gurusharan Chhabra died on November 3 after a 33 day-long hunger strike demanding a liquor ban in the state.
The state-owned company’s 34 depots has earned Rs 47.76 lakh by selling country liquor that is more than nine months old without lab tests and liquor in three depots was tested unfit for consumption.
The report, said that the government company directed the 44 depots and units offices to test the country liquor that was more than nine-month-old in laboratories before issuing retail license.
The company has not developed any system to test the liquor, the CAG report revealed.
The CAG further said that various brands of country liquor of Ojas Industries Limited – a government approved private supplier of country liquor – were lying in stock in the 44 depots of the state-owned liquor company since March, 2014.
A total 17,114 cases of country liquor of various brands were left out of the closing stock and the company allowed the sale of the left out country liquor after nine months – much beyond the expiry date – in December 2014 and January 2015.
The stocked country liquor was to be sold only after lab tests, but the government company sold 14,526 cases country liquor without testing, the CAG report said.
Jodhpur, Chippabarod and Kota were the only depots where the tests were carried out in compliance of the directives. A large quality of the Ojas brand was found unfit for consumption.
When CAG sought reply from the government in May 2015, the company ordered Ojas Industries Limited to take back the old stock.
The liquor sold by the government was not substandard, the government argued in its defence, but CAG while denying accepting it, observed how the government sold the liquor without testing it in the laboratory.