What is Delhi excise policy and why is it a flashpoint of BJP-AAP tussle?

Published on Aug 19, 2022 01:29 PM IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party has accused the Arvind Kejriwal government of numerous lapses in the implementation of Delhi excise policy 2021-22.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal with Deputy CM Manish Sisodia.(ANI)
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal with Deputy CM Manish Sisodia.(ANI)

The national capital is witnessing a massive political showdown between the Aam Aadmi Party government and the Centre over the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raids on deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia over the excise policy.

“We welcome the CBI and will cooperate in the investigation till the truth is out. It is unfortunate that those who do good work are harassed like this. That is why our country has not yet become No. 1," Sisodia tweeted.

The Delhi excise policy has been a bone of contention between the AAP and the BJP. The excise department is currently headed by Manish Sisodia. He is under the scanner for alleged deliberate and gross procedural lapses which provided undue benefits to the tender process for liquor licensees for the year 2021-22.

But what is the Delhi excise policy and why has it turned controversial?

1. The excise policy meant the exit of Delhi government from retail liquor business in the national capital. Under the new policy, 849 liquor stores were to open in Delhi across 32 zones.

2. Each zone was divided into 8-10 wards which would have 27 liquor outlets. The Delhi excise policy allowed liquor stores to be opened in malls, commercial areas, local shopping complexes etc subject to rules and regulations.

3. The excise policy was implemented on November 17 last year when Anil Baijal was the Delhi Lieutenant Governor.

4. Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia alleged that Baijal changed his stance over opening of liquor vends in unauthorised areas on November 15, two days before the implementation of the policy. Sisodia alleged that the then L-G had not objected to the proposal of opening liquor vends in ‘unauthorised’ areas but later put a condition for the vends to get permission from the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for opening such vends.

5. Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena had recommended a CBI probe into the Kejriwal government's Excise Policy, 2021-22, over alleged violations of rules and procedural lapses. The CBI inquiry was recommended on Delhi Chief Secretary's report filed in July, showing prima facie violations of GNCTD Act 1991, Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR)-1993, Delhi Excise Act-2009, and Delhi Excise Rules-2010, they said.

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