Punjab Congress spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira on Wednesday brought forth certain documents revealing imposition of Rs. 10 lakh as fine on Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MLA Deep Malhotra for hoarding old stock, and the payment of Rs. 5.66 crore as levy thus. Khaira, a former MLA, had lodged a complaint with regard to non-payment.
“Had it not been for my complaint to the Election Commission (EC) regarding hoarding of two lakh liquor boxes by the firms of Malhotra, the excise and taxation department would have succumbed to political pressure and allowed the said liquor mafia go scot-free,” Khaira claimed in a statement here. “This confirms and vindicates my allegations that the SAD is now a den of criminals, mafia and defaulters,” he stated.
Khaira highlighted the copy of a letter sent to him by the department that stated: “Gaurav Wines Pvt Ltd and its sister concerns owned by MLA Deep Malhotra have been imposed a heavy excise levy of Rs. 5,66,90,216 and a fine of Rs. 10 lakh by the department… The said levy and fine has been imposed for illegal hoarding of 32,060 boxes of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and 39,047 boxes of beer, by the firms at Ludhiana last year. As per the department letter sent to the additional secretary, excise and taxation, the said liquor stock was of the previous financial year and that the MLA failed to disclose this to the department, in order to avoid paying excise duty to the government.”
When contacted, Faridkot MLA Malhotra acknowledged payment of the levy and fine, but added that the stock was not illegal. He claimed that it was leftover stock of the previous financial year, and the department was informed about this. He said the fine was imposed for keeping it in a godown that was not in any record. “I have simply paid the levy against the stock that was never hidden by me,” he said.