The inquiry report on the alleged scam in the new excise policy in Delhi deals at length with the arbitrary and unilateral decisions taken by the Minister and the Excise Department officials that resulted into huge financial losses to the exchequer, a source at LG office said on Sunday.
The source told IANS that the findings of the inquiry report regarding the levy of import pass fee and profit margin in case of foreign liquor, reduction in the number of dry days and illegal extension of excise policy also expose the lies of the government about the story of 'earning huge revenues'.
The source said that as per the Vigilance Report, the officials of the Excise Department neither took approval of the Council of Ministers nor opinion of the LG before issuing the order dated 08-11-2021 for revising the formula of calculation of rates of foreign liquor and removal of levying of import pass fee Rs 50 per case on beer.
It has been observed that by undertaking such reduction in the wholesale price, the input cost of beer and foreign liquor to the retail licence (L7Z) was reduced, he said.
The Finance Department vide note dated 28-10-2021 proposed that the Excise Department may place the comparative statement regarding impact on excise revenue of the government, impact on MRP, profit margin of wholesaler and profit margin of retailer due to the proposed changes before the Group of Ministers (GoM) for taking appropriate decision.
"However, the Deputy Chief Minister on 01.11.2021, over-ruled the proposal of Finance Department and recorded that, the proposal of Excise Department is reasonable and accordingly approved. The ratifications can be done later by the GoM and the Cabinet," said the source.
"Had such financial implications of proposed changes for reduced cost of beer and foreign liquor been available with the bidders (thus reducing their input cost), they would have quoted higher licence fee payable to the government," he said.
Regarding reducing the number of dry days from 21 days in calendar year 2021 to 3 days in 2022, the inquiry report mentions that "it is observed that the department has reduced number of dry days from 21 days in calendar year 2021 to 03 days in 2022, without taking approval of the Council of Ministers and without taking opinion of the LG".
As per the report, then Assistant Commissioner of the Excise Department in 2015 had proposed reducing the number of dry days to three on the basis of what is followed by the neighbouring states.
"It is observed that while the proposal for reduction number of dry days was rejected by the Deputy Chief Minister on 11.12.2015 without assigning any reason then however, this time the same was approved by him on 06.01.2021, without even taking approval of the Council of Ministers," mentions the report as per the source.
However, as Delhi is set to return to the old regime of excise policy, the past norms like 21 dry days are likely to return
Thirdly, while extending the L7Z licence, no approval from the Council of Ministers and opinion of the LG was taken, the source claimed.
"It is observed that the period of the L7Z licenses were extended firstly from 01.04.2022 to 31.05.2022 by the officers of the department vide dated 28.02.2022, and then from 01.06.2022 to 31.07.2022, without taking approval of the Council of Ministers and without taking opinion of the LG," the source said.
"Similarly, the period of L1 licensees were extended firstly from 01.04.2022 to 31.05.2022, and then from 01.06.2022 to 31.07.2022 by the officers of the Departments vide order dated 24.05.2022, without taking approval of the Council and opinion of LG," the source claimed, citing the report.
The source said that such extension without any increase in the tendered licence fee is in contravention to the proposal placed before and approved by the Council of Ministers dated 23.06.2021, wherein the departments proposed that at the time of end of year 2021-22, the licence fee may be increased after considering the real time-based actual sale data.
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