Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena has sought a report from the chief secretary on allegations of cartelisation, facilitating monopolies and favouring blacklisted firms in award of liquor licences under Excise Policy 2021-22 of the AAP government, LG office sources said on Monday.
No reaction was immediately available from Delhi government’s excise department over the development.
The report has been sought within 15 days following a complaint by an organisation of jurists, lawyers and civil society members, the sources said while refusing to divulge the name of the organisation to “protect them from intimidation and harassment”.
”The Lt Governor has forwarded a complaint by an organisation of jurists, lawyers and civil society members about grave irregularities in award of liquor licences, to the chief secretary for verification and enquiry, and asked that a report be submitted to him and the chief minister within a fortnight,” a source said.
”The complaint that alleges cartelisation, facilitating monopolies and favouring blacklisted firms, brings out that the same was done in deliberate and premeditated violation of the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22. The LG will take appropriate action as per law on the basis of the report,” he added.
The LG had last week recommended a CBI probe into alleged irregularities related to the Excise Policy 2021-22 of the Arvind Kejriwal government.
He has already sought a report from the chief secretary over the role of officials in the alleged irregularities and lapses in implementation of the policy.
Under the Excise policy 2021-22, implemented in November 2021, licenses for 849 retail liquor stores were given through open bidding. The city was divided into 32 zones and each bidder was allowed to have a maximum two zonal licenses.
The sources alleged ”corruption” in awarding zonal licences in violation of the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22.
”Clause 4.1.1 and 4.1.2 of the New Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 prohibit emergence of monopolies and cartel in liquor business and that no entity shall be allotted more than two zones. However, in complete violation of these clauses, two entities of a company were awarded zonal retail licenses for zone 32 and zones 4 and 23,” they claimed citing the complaint.
The clauses also prohibit bidding by any company/party which has any manufacturing facilities directly or through any sister concern, the sources said.
However, the company which is engaged in manufacturing of liquor was given zonal licenses, they claimed.
Also, two companies acted as a cartel to get zonal licenses, they said.
There were also firms, including one in Madhya Pradesh, that were blacklisted by the state’s excise department for evasion of excise duty, that got licenses, the sources said citing the complaint.