Delhi L-G recommends CBI probe into AAP’s new Excise Policy, cites violation of rules, procedural lapses

The new Excise policy 2021-22 was implemented in Delhi from November 17 last year in which the legal age for liquor consumption was slashed to 21 from 25 and the number of dry days were also reduced to three.

Delhi L-G recommends CBI probe into AAP’s new Excise Policy, cites violation of rules, procedural lapses
The meeting comes in the backdrop of a defamation notice sent by the L-G to the AAP and four of its leaders over allegations levelled against him of corruption during his tenure as KVIC Chairman. (Photo/Newsdrum)

Setting stage for a fresh face-off between the Arvind Kejriwal-led government in Delhi and the central government, Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor Vinai Kumar Saxena on Friday recommended a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the Kejriwal government’s Excise Policy, 2021-22, over alleged violations of rules and procedural lapses.

The CBI inquiry was initially recommended in Delhi Chief Secretary’s report filed earlier this month, showing prima facie violations of GNCTD Act 1991, Transaction of Business Rules (ToBR)-1993, Delhi Excise Act-2009, and Delhi Excise Rules-2010.

The report also found “deliberate and gross procedural lapses” on part of the government to provide post tender “undue benefits to liquor licensees”, said the officials. Under the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22, which was extended for two months till July, many liquor stores faile to open for being located in non-confirming areas of the city. “Several such vends were sealed by the municipal corporations,” officials said.

The new Excise policy 2021-22 was implemented in Delhi from November 17 last year under which retail licenses were given to private bidders for 849 vends across the city divided into 32 zones. The legal age for liquor consumption was also slashed to 21 from 25 under the policy and the number of dry days were also reduced to three.

The BJP and Congress had heavily opposed the policy and lodged a complaint with the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi as well as central agencies calling for a probe into the new excise policy. 

Earlier in March, Delhi Congress chief Anil Kumar accused Arvind Kejriwal of creating corrupt policies to generate money for party funds. “Kejriwal claimed to end the reign of liquor mafia in Delhi but to lure money from Mafias became too irresistible for him that he is liberalising alcohol, ignoring all principal standards,” said Kumar.

The Delhi unit of the BJP also organised a protest to seal illegal liquor shops that were selling alcohol in non-conforming areas and also ran a signature campaign against the Delhi government’s new excise policy. Targeting the lowering of the legal age to 21, Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta said, “The new policy will not only lead to (sale of) spurious liquor and promote crime but will also spoil youngsters as the legal age for drinking has been lowered from 25 to 21 years.”

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