NEW DELHI: Deputy CM Manish Sisodia alleged on Saturday that a former LG made it mandatory for liquor sellers to have the approval of the MCD and DDA when opening shops in non-conforming areas. This was done two days before the new excise policy came into force last year, he said, causing the state exchequer losses of “thousands of crores of rupees”, reports Atul Mathur. Sisodia said he has written to the CBI to probe the LG’s role in “favouring select liquor licensees… without the knowledge of the elected government”. Anil Baijal was LG when the policy was implemented.
Former LG tweaked excise policy to favour some: Govt
At a press conference on Saturday, deputy CM Sisodia said, “The [former] LG made changes in the new excise policy just two days before the shops were to open in order to be able to extend special favours to a few liquor traders. The Delhi government had to bear a loss of thousands of crores due to his overnight step. The CBI must investigate the matter.” No immediate reaction was available from the LG’s secretariat. Anil Baijal, who was the LG when the excise policy was implemented, did not respond to telephone calls and WhatsApp messages seeking his reaction.
The deputy CM claimed, “The LG gave some valuable suggestions when the cabinet sent the policy to him in May 2021. After making those changes, the cabinet again sent the policy to him in June 2021, which he approved. The policy had a provision for opening liquor shops in unauthorised areas. But the LG neither raised the issue of shops in unauthorised areas nor asked for a change.” Sisodia said the LG changed his stand when the file seeking permission for opening of the shops was sent to him in November. “The LG added a new condition on November 15 that the approvals of DDA and MCD were mandatory to operate shops in unauthorised areas,” he said. Sisodia said this U-turn was “unexpected and shocking” and vends couldn’t open in unauthorised areas, forcing the licensees to move court.
“The court directed the excise department not to take any licence fees from shops in unauthorised areas and also ordered a rebate on taxes and other relaxations, which caused a loss of thousands of crores to the exchequer while benefiting those who could open shops,” he said. The deputy CM said the LG’s office had always approved of liquor shops in unauthorised colonies for many years. He added that when the LG was apprised of this, he did not change his stand but created a committee under the DDA vice-chairman, which did not have any outcome. “I am requesting CBI to investigate thoroughly why the LG backtracked on his own approval to the policy,” Sisodia said.
In his letter to the CBI director, Sisodia accepted lapses in implementing the policy with the state government getting 36% less revenue than projected, but insisted it was pertinent to probe where and under whose direction such lapses happened. Incumbent LG V K Saxena recommended a CBI investigation into procedural lapses in the excise policy in July. He also directed the chief secretary to probe the role of government officials in formulation and implementation of the policy, the report of which has been submitted. The Delhi government announced the withdrawal of the new excise policy from September 1 and reverted to the old regime.

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