Delhi excise dept. officials & private liquor vendors threatened with ED/CBI raids: Sisodia
Says old excise policy will be in force from Monday
New Delhi, July 30 (Delhi Crown): Only 468 private liquor shops are operating in Delhi as on date as per the new excise policy, as a lot many private vendors were reluctant to open their shops after being threatened of ED/CBI raids if they dared to open their vends, said Delhi Deputy Chief Minister & Finance Minister Manish Sisodia on Saturday.
Addressing media persons to announce that the old excise policy would be in force in the capital from Monday, the Deputy CM said that the Kejriwal government intended to give a corruption-free excise policy, “but they were hell-bent in failing the new excise policy.”
Interestingly, throughout his press conference lasting 12:45 minutes, Sisodia didn’t even once directly accused (by naming) the BJP or the central government for failing the new excise policy. Instead, he used the pronoun “they” for referring to them.
“The excise department officials in Delhi are so scared of ED/CBI raids on them that they are not ready to issue new licences or re-auction the liquor vends being vacated by those who won the tenders last year. Similarly, these officials are too scared to extend the new excise policy beyond the expiry date of July 31,” said Sisodia.
He stated that earlier there were mostly government-run liquor shops in Delhi, in which there was “rampant corruption”. “From brand pushing to a lot many corruption-related reports used to come forth then. I personally caught corruption in those govt-run shops by conducting raids,” said Sisodia.
“Last year we carried out open auctions of liquor vends in a very transparent manner. But they wanted to ensure that the new excise policy gets failed. They began threatening the new liquor vends’ owners with ED/CBI raids if they chose to open their shops. As a result, many of them were scared to open their shops, and many more are expected to pull down their shutters with effect from August 1,” he added.
“Earlier there were 850 liquor shops in Delhi, and since 2015 we ensured that there will be no increase in the number of shops. Prior to the implementation of the 2021-22 excise policy, those shops used to give a revenue Rs 6000 crores annually. After the auction a revenue of around Rs 9500 crores annually was expected. But unfortunately, it was intentionally failed,” said Sisodia.
“Their sole objective is to create shortage of liquor in Delhi by reducing the quantum of legally sold liquor, and promote the illegal sale of liquor just like Gujarat where there has been a hooch tragedy recently claiming many human lives,” he said and added – “but we won’t allow the sale of spurious liquor in Delhi, and hence we are withdrawing the new excise policy and implement the old policy allowing old government-run liquor shops to reopen.”
He further stated that he had issued necessary orders and directions to Delhi’s chief secretary in this regard.
In a bid to reject the BJP’s accusation that Kejriwal had promoted the liquor culture in Delhi, the Deputy CM said that the number of liquor shops in Delhi was far less than the cities having BJP governments.
“In Gurugram, where the BJP is ruling, on an average there is one liquor shop for every 4166 people, in Noida where there is a BJP government this figure is 1390, in BJP-ruled Bengaluru it is 12,179, similarly in Goa it is 761. But, in Delhi even if all the 850 liquor had been opened there were would have been one liquor shop on every 22,707 people. Today, when there are only 468 shops there is one shop for every 41,192 people in Delhi,” he elaborated.
Meanwhile, according to a former manager at an old government-run liquor shop in East Delhi, the old shops are being re-opened and refurbished. “It will take a day or two for them to start functioning as new furniture and racks are needed to run the shops,” he added.
In his press conference, Sisodia said that it would be ensured that there is no chaos in Delhi as far as sale of liquor is concerned during the switchover from new excise policy to the older one.