Home / News / India /  Delhi excise policy row: Why AAP and the BJP are at loggerheads? Explained

The Bhartiya Janata Party(BJP) has charged the ruling Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) government in Delhi of using former lieutenant governor Anil Baijal as a "sacrificial lamb", in a bid to divert attention from the the irregularities in its excise policy . BJP alleged numerous irregularities in the implementation of the Excise Policy 2021-22 by the Delhi government.

Anil Baijal was the Delhi LG when the Arvind Kejriwal-led government prepared the new excise policy, which was implemented on November 17, 2021. A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry has already been recommended by the LG into the alleged violation of rules and procedural lapses in the implementation of the Excise Policy 2021-22.

Delhi Excise policy: What we know

The Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia has said that former lieutenant governor Baijal of changing his stand over opening liquor vends in unauthorised areas and claimed that it led to a loss of thousands of crores of rupees to the Delhi government and windfall gains for some vendors.

Under the new excise policy, 849 shops were to be opened across Delhi, including in unauthorised areas. The LG did not object to the proposal and approved it," Sisodia, who also heads the excise department, said.

However, on November 15 last year, two days before the implementation of the policy, Baijal changed his stand and introduced a condition that permission from the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) would be needed for opening liquor shops in unauthorised areas, he alleged.

The Kejriwal government withdrew the excise policy after incumbent LG V K Saxena last week recommended a CBI probe into alleged violation of rules and procedural lapses in the excise policy. It is preparing to run liquor vends under the old excise regime through its undertakings from September 1.

BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra has accused the AAP government treated the new excise policy as a milch cow. He also accused that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia of spending crores of rupees earned through corruption in the liquor policy for contesting elections in Punjab.

Sources at the LG office claimed according to news agency PTI that the inquiry report filed by the Directorate of Vigilance contained proofs of irregularities that were provided to DoV by the finance and the excise departments, both under Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

The report clearly brings out blatant violation of procedures, deliberate misinterpretation and subversion of basic government financial rules to provide benefit to licencees obviously for a "quid pro quo", they said.

"From the formulation of the tender document to award of tenders, undue return of earnest money deposit worth 30 crore, waiver of license fee worth 144.36 crore to allowing additional liquor vends to be opened by chosen licencees, the entire episode stinks of corruption and connivance," they charged.

The report said that Excise department officers equated the successful tenderer selected for the Airport zone to get NOC from authorities to open vends there, with unsuccessful bidders to refund it 30 crore EMD (earnest money deposit).

*With inputs from agencies

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