Says LG’s “new condition” led to non-opening of around 350 shops in Delhi
New Delhi, Aug. 6 (Delhi Crown): There should be a CBI probe as to why former L-G Anil Baijal put a new “unprecedented condition” for opening new liquor shops last year as per the new Excise Policy just two days prior to its implementation, demanded Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister & Finance Minister Manish Sisodia on Saturday (Aug. 6).
As per the new Excise Policy implemented last year, the sale of liquor was privatised in Delhi for the first time. Earlier, it used to be sold through government-run liquor vends. Lately, the Policy has been reversed and government-run liquor shops are being re-opened.
Sisodia said the new Excise Policy was implemented on Nov. 17 last year, and just two days prior to it the former L-G Baijal put the “new condition” that those liquor vends which were to be opened in unauthorised areas needed to have permission from the DDA and the MCD.
The Dy. CM further demanded that the CBI must investigate whether the former L-G changed his stance and imposed the “new condition” under any “pressure”, and if any BJP leaders were involved in getting this new condition imposed through the L-G.
He said that the Delhi government suffered losses running into thousands of crores of Rupees due to the “new condition” imposed by the then L-G.
“The vendors who were able to open their shops were benefited to the tune of thousands of crores of rupees, while those who couldn’t open the vends in unauthorised areas had to suffer huge losses,” said Sisodia.
“Why the former L-G Baijal took seven months to realise that the new liquor vends which were to be opened in unauthorised areas needed to have permission from the DDA and the MCD,” asked Sisodia.
“The new Excise Policy in Delhi was implemented last year. All suggestions put forth by the then L-G Anil Baijal were incorporated into the Policy, according to which new liquor vends could be opened in the unauthorised areas also. The new Excise Policy was implemented on November 17 last year, and just two days prior to it, former L-G Anil Baijal put the condition that the new shops to be opened in the unauthorised areas needed permission from the DDA and MCD. That had never happened before,” said Sisodia while addressing media persons at his residence.
Initially the new Excise Policy was passed by the Delhi cabinet in May 2021 and sent to L-G Baijal for his assent. Baijal made certain suggestions/changes which were duly incorporated, and thereafter a new amended Excise Policy was re-sent to him in June 2021 for his final approval, Sisodia said and added – “And, the then L-G finally approved it.”
The focus of the new Excise Policy was to ensure equitable distribution of liquor vends across the national capital, without increasing the total number of vends beyond 849.
“Earlier, some wards had more than 25 liquor vends while some had none,” stated Sisodia.
He said that taking permission from the DDA and the MCD for opening liquor vends in unauthorised areas was never a condition in the past. “I have personally seen files of the past 17 years. Never ever this condition was forced upon for opening new liquor shops in unauthorised areas in Delhi,” added the Dy. CM.
“Former L-G Anil Baijal had himself approved the new Excise Policy and he was aware of all its contents. Then, why did he impose this condition just two days before the implementation of the new Excise Policy. Definitely it must have been done to benefit someone. This should be investigated. All those officials working at the L-G office then and were consulted before imposing this new condition, should also be interrogated to know the truth,” said Sisodia.
He further alleged that let there should be a CBI probe to know who all were benefited by putting this unprecedented condition.
“As a result, nearly 350 new liquor vends could not be opened throughout the last year, after the implementation of the new Excise Policy,” Sisodia told media persons.
He also said that the new Excise Policy was designed in such a manner that it could have yielded much more income for the Delhi Government, but due to the non-opening of around 350 liquor vends the targeted income(s) could not be achieved.
“But, despite that the income generated through Excise last year was more than the previous years,” he added.