HomeIndiaAmid Excise Policy Row, Panel Set Up by Ex-LG Baijal to File...

Amid Excise Policy Row, Panel Set Up by Ex-LG Baijal to File Report on Non-conforming Areas

Amid the storm over the CBI probe and raids over the alleged irregularities in the Kejriwal government’s excise policy 2021-22, a committee is soon likely to submit its report on the issue of liquor vends in non-confirming areas of the city.

The five-member committee was formed in April by then Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on the High Court’s order to draw up a list of conforming and non-conforming municipal wards in the city.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, named an accused in an FIR registered by the CBI probing alleged irregularities in the Excise Policy execution, has alleged Baijal obstructed opening of liquor stores in non-confirming areas. Baijal had hit back at Sisodia, calling him a “desperate man” and alleging he was trying to save his “own skin”. He had asserted no rules allowed opening liquor vends in non-confirming areas of the city.

“We are finalising the report and it is expected to be filed in the High Court very soon,” said a member of the committee. The five-member committee chaired by excise commissioner of Delhi included DDA and MCD officials as its members.

It was mandated to “examine the factual position prevailing in different wards and localities so that an authoritative list of conforming and non-conforming wards was prepared after the due verification”, officials said. The committee in its report is likely to recommend opening liquor vends in confirming parts bordering non-confirming areas so liquor consumers living there too have easy access to it, a source claimed.

The Delhi Cabinet in its meeting on November 5, 2021 had decided to allow opening of liquor shops in non-confirming areas too. When the zonal licencees failed to open liquor vends due to restriction of the Delhi Development Authority and MCD permission, a committee was formed by Baijal under the chairmanship of the vice chairman of DDA to find a solution.

That committee had recommended in December 2021 shifting retail licensees from nonconfirming wards to conforming wards in a zone. However, the issues persisted and Sisodia has claimed the government suffered revenue losses of thousands crores of rupees because shops could not open in non conforming areas as some zonal licensees whose all wards were confirming had a windfall gain.

The second committee headed by excise commissioner was supposed to submit its report by May 31. A report prepared by Vigilance Directorate on the role of excise officials in executing the policy observed that the Committee report was not submitted by the then excise commissioner A Gopi Krishna despite having the draft ready with him on July 4.

Krishna is also one of the accused in the FIR and one of the 11 Excise officials whose suspension was recommended by the current LG VK Saxena. Saxena last month had recommended the CBI probe into the alleged violations of rules and procedural lapses in implementing the Excise Policy 2021, that came into effect from November 17.

Under the policy, zonal licenses were issued by Excise department to private bidders through open auction for a total 849 liquor stores distributed into 32 zones each having 27 vends.

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