Delhi Govt To Switch To Old Liquor Policy After LG's Recommendation For CBI Probe Into New Regime

The finance department asked the excise department to provide details of old vends including their location, number of staff deployed, rented or government premises, as "topmost priority" by Friday.

By Talibuddin Khan
Updated: Sat, 30 Jul 2022 08:57 AM IST
Minute Read
Delhi Govt To Switch To Old Liquor Policy After LG's Recommendation For CBI Probe Into New Regime
People gather outside wine and beer shop in New Delhi. (ANI Photo)

Amid an ongoing investigation by Delhi Police's Economic Offences Wing (EOW) and a face-off between Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena and the Delhi government, the liquor policy row in the capital has taken a fresh turn. With only two days left for the current excise policy to expire, the Delhi government has decided to go back to the old regime of retail liquor sales for six months.

The decision came days after the Delhi LG Vinai Kumar Saxena recommended a CBI probe into the implementation of the AAP government's new excise policy. The new excise policy, which was extended twice after March 31 for a period of 2 months each, will now come to end on July 31, 2022.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who also holds the excise portfolio, directed the department on Thursday to "revert" to the old regime of the excise policy for a period of six months till a fresh policy is in place. The excise department is still working on the Excise Policy 2022-23 that recommends, among other things, home delivery of liquor in Delhi. The draft policy is yet to be sent to Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena for his approval.

According to an official document, the finance department has directed the excise commissioner to coordinate with the heads of four corporations of the Delhi government for details of liquor vends operated by them before the new excise policy came into effect on November 17, 2021.

The four corporations -- Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC), Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation (DTTDC), Delhi Consumer's Cooperative Wholesale Store (DCCWS) and Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation (DSCSC) -- were running a majority of liquor stores in the city before the Excise Policy 2021-22 came into effect with the Delhi government quitting retail sale of liquor.

Under the new policy, licences of 849 liquor vends were issued through open bidding to private firms. The city was divided into 32 zones with each having a maximum of 27 vends. Instead of individual licences, bidding was done zone-wise and each bidder was allowed to bid for a maximum of two zones.

Earlier, the four government corporations ran 475 liquor stores out of a total of 864 in Delhi. The private stores, licences held by individuals, numbered 389. The finance department asked the excise department to provide details of old vends including their location, number of staff deployed, rented or government premises, as "topmost priority" by Friday.

The Delhi lieutenant governor earlier this month recommended a CBI probe into alleged violation of rules and procedural lapses in the implementation of the excise policy. He also directed the Delhi chief secretary for an enquiry into the role of excise department officials in the alleged irregularities as well as complaints of cartelisation in issuing of retail liquor licences through bidding.


(With Agency Inputs)

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