Mounting attack on the AAP, the BJP on Tuesday said the Delhi government had closed its eyes to the recommendations of an expert committee formed to reform the liquor trade in the capital and violations in the implementation of the excise policy.
Addressing a press conference, BJP national spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi said while the Delhi Excise Policy strictly said the producers, distributors and retailers of the liquor cannot be the same, there were instances of liquor producing companies receiving the licences for distribution also.
Also, there cannot be common directors or shareholders in different companies bidding for licences. Although the panel brought these to the attention of the government, they were ignored by the government, Trivedi said.
On October 25, 2021, the Delhi excise department had brought some cases of common producers, retailers and distributors to the notice of the government, but it did not act on it, he claimed.
BJP MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma said the expert committee was against promotions to push liquor sales but the Delhi government gave a carton free on every carton sold. Verma said the committee had suggested following the Karnataka model wherein the government is responsible for wholesale business. The panel said no individual can be given more than one licence. It had also recommended against opening liquor vends in non-conforming areas like villages and colonies without commercial markets. But the government ignored all these suggestions, Verma alleged.
“The policy says the licence fee should be forfeited if the applicant does not accept the licence after winning the bid within a stipulated time. The AAP government returned Rs 144 crore to such persons but did not waive a single rupee of small businessmen during the Covid pandemic,” Verma claimed.
The new excise policy caused a loss of Rs 6,500 crore to the government exchequer. This itself is a crime, he said, adding that it has gone to the AAP party. “But when we (the BJP) are asking chemistry questions, the Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia gives replies about history. There should be answers to our questions on Excise policy,” the BJP MP alleged.
“They have been deflecting questions and pitching Kejriwal as an alternative to PM Modi (for 2024 general elections)… They have been patting each other on the back,” he said. Verma also attacked AAP Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha, saying he was a “weak” wrestler who challenged “Gama pehalwan” — referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi — and ran away.