Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena has recommended a CBI investigation into the alleged violations of the Delhi Excise Policy and “deliberate and gross procedural lapses” made by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who is also in charge of the excise department.
The CBI inquiry was recommended after a recent report by the Chief Secretary established prima facie violations of GNCTD Act 1991, Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR) 1993, Delhi Excise Act 2009 and Delhi Excise Rules 2010.
Sisodia’s role 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, sources in the LG office told ANI. According to them Sisodia had executed decisions in violation of the statutory provisions of the Excise Policy, which could have huge financial implications. Such “undue financial favours” to the liquor licensees after the deadline for awarding tenders caused huge losses to the exchequer, said sources.
The excise policy was passed in chief minister Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi Cabinet in the middle of the deadly Delta Covid-19 pandemic in 2021. Sources further said the move was done with the sole aim of benefitting private liquor barons.
However, the Delhi government’s version is that the policy was formulated to ensure the generation of optimum revenue, and eradicate the sale of spurious liquor or non-duty paid liquor in Delhi, besides improving user experience.