The office of the Assistant Commissioner of Delhi Police’s Economic Offence Wing, has issued a notice to Delhi’s Excise Commissioner asking him to provide all documents relating to the award of liquor licenses under the new excise policy. This came days after Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena’s recommendation of an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the alleged violations of the Arvind Kejriwal-led government’s new contentious excise policy.
A report on July 8 by the Chief Secretary of the Union territory established prima facie violations of “deliberate and gross procedural lapses” made by the deputy chief minister and in charge of excise department Manish Sisodia to “provide post tender undue benefits to liquor licensees.” Assistant Commissioner of Police, EOW has sought the date of floating of tenders for grant of liquor license under the new policy, date of grant of a license, and application forms of all successful applicants.
The procedures that were followed to check monopolies and cartels of successful applicants granted liquor license was also sought. “Whether any SOP was prepared to check monopolies and cartels of successful applicants granted liquor license under New Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22. If yes, please provide the relevant SOP,” it asked.
Further, it sought whether the Delhi excise department has issued any show cause notice for cancellation of the license granted to any applicant or cancelled license under the new excise policy. The replies to these questions were sought within three days after the receipt of the notice.
The Chief Secretary’s report mentioned earlier indicates substantively of financial quid pro quo at the top political level and that the Delhi excise policy was implemented with the sole aim of benefitting private liquor barons for financial benefits to individuals at the highest rungs of the government leading up to Manish Sisodia. 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.
However, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which rules the Delhi government, claimed that the new excise 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.