Delhi: LG, state govt spar as row over excise losses rumbles on

Published on Aug 08, 2022 04:20 AM IST

According to the LG office, the government in 2015 rejected an excise department proposal to reduce the number of dry days from 23 to three days in a year in line with nearby states which observed only three dry days in a year.

The LG office stated that the period of the wholesale and retail licences was extended twice — from 01.04.2022 to 31.05.2022 and from 01.06.2022 to 31.07.2022 — without taking the approval of the council of ministers and without taking the opinion of the LG. (HT Photo)
The LG office stated that the period of the wholesale and retail licences was extended twice — from 01.04.2022 to 31.05.2022 and from 01.06.2022 to 31.07.2022 — without taking the approval of the council of ministers and without taking the opinion of the LG. (HT Photo)
By, New Delhi

The blame game over excise revenue losses between the lieutenant governor’s office and the Delhi government continued on Sunday, with the former claiming irregularities in policy implementation and the latter saying the losses were caused deliberately to hurt the interests of the Capital’s elected dispensation.

An inquiry conducted by the directorate of vigilance (DoV) into alleged irregularities in the implementation of the excise policy 2021-22 found that “arbitrary and unilateral decisions” — like the levy of import pass fee and profit margin in case of foreign liquor, reduction in the number of dry days and illegal extension of excise policy — resulted in huge financial losses to the exchequer, the lieutenant governor’s office claimed on Sunday, on the basis of the DoV’s inquiry report.

The Delhi government, however, hit back, saying, “The LG house should explain why, just 48 hours before the shops were supposed to be opened, did they change their stand on the policy to favour a few businesses and vendors. They must come clear why and under whose pressure they deliberately caused 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.”

On the basis of the same DoV report, LG VK Saxena on Saturday approved the suspension of 11 excise department officers.

HT has not seen the DoV inquiry report and could not independently verify its findings.

According to the LG office, the government in 2015 rejected an excise department proposal to reduce the number of dry days from 23 to three days in a year in line with nearby states which observed only three dry days in a year.

“In 2021 the same (three dry days) was approved by Manish Sisodia without even taking approval of the council of ministers,” said the LG office, adding that the excise department officials did not levy additional licence fee to compensate for the increased number of sale days due to the reduction in the number of dry days.

Deputy CM Sisodia is also Delhi’s excise minister.

The LG office further stated that the period of the wholesale and retail licences was extended twice — from 01.04.2022 to 31.05.2022 and from 01.06.2022 to 31.07.2022 — without taking the approval of the council of ministers and without taking the opinion of the LG.

No reaction was available from the excise department over the LG office’s claims.

Sisodia had on Saturday blamed the previous LG Anil Baijal for excise revenue loss and alleged that he made a U-turn at the last minute due to which liquor stores could not open in non-conforming areas, at the last moment before implementing the new excise policy from November 17, 2021. Sisodia said he had written to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe the matter.

There was no response from Baijal to Sisodia’s comments.

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Tuesday, October 04, 2022
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