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Political Bad Blood In The Capital – The Controversial New Delhi Excise Policy

New Delhi Excise Policy
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Introduction – New Delhi Excise Policy Turned Into Capital’s Political Battleground

There is never a dull moment in Indian politics! The AAP BJP conflict has worsened in recent times over the New Delhi excise policy scam. Soon after a CBI raid on the residence of Delhi deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodiya on charges of corruption in the New Delhi excise policy, the Kejriwal-led AAP government slams the Government at the centre saying the current ruling party is finding new ways to harass the Government of Delhi. But, what is the Delhi Government excise policy? What is the Delhi excise policy issue that has gained momentum in the capital? Why is Sisodiya being dragged into the criminal conspiracy? Read the article till the end to gain a subtle idea of the hot topic, as I demystify the case here! 

The Delhi Government Excise Policy – More Power To Private Liquor Companies 

The country capital of India saw itself turning into a hotbed of conflicts and bad blood after the CBI made a 15 hours-long raid into the residence of Manish Sisodiya, in the money laundering case regarding the Delhi excise policy issue. But, what is the Delhi government excise policy of 2021-22? How did it manifest itself into a conflict between the AAP government and the Central Government? 

The New Delhi excise policy under the Kejriwal-led Government is all about extending powers to the private liquor firms into the retail business. The Delhi liquor policy which was implemented in the latter half of 2021 allowed private liquor companies to step into the liquor business. This also signifies that the Government will have no role in the liquor trade. According to the Delhi government excise policy, the country capital will be divided into 32 zones under which 849 liquor stores are to operate. 

The New Delhi excise policy further put forward that each zone will have about 10 wards with each ward having a maximum of 27 outlets of liquor stores. Additionally, liquor stores can be opened in public places like malls, shopping complexes, etc. The New Delhi excise policy was an initiative by the Delhi government to modify the buying process of liquor. According to the authority, consumers have to wait for a long time in the queue outside the shops and the money is paid by throwing it before the shopkeeper. There is no dignity in the process. 

What Is The New Delhi Excise Policy Issue? – The Faulty Implementation Of The New Excise Policy 

Problems soon erupted over the Delhi Government when Delhi’s Chief Secretary, Naresh Kumar, in July this year reported to the then Lieutenant Governor, VK Saxena, accusing Delhi deputy Chief Commissioner, Manish Sisodiya, regarding faulty implementation of the New Delhi excise policy. The report further claimed that Sisodiya was involved in providing undue advantage to the liquor traders in return of money. 

Again, the then Lieutenant Governor accused the Aam Aadmi Party for making changes into the Delhi liquor policy without holding any discussion with the Lieutenant Governor. Further, the Kejriwal-led AAP government was criticized for lowering the import pass fees, which led to a loss of revenue for the state. 

The Accused In The Delhi Excise Policy Issue 

Soon, the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, VK Saxena, after receiving the money laundering report commanded the CBI to organize a raid into Manish Sisodiya’s place. According to reports, the CBI has raided for 15 hours into Sisodiya’s house alongside 30 other locations. Following the raid, Sisodiya who is involved in the Excise Department announced that the Delhi government excise policy issue will soon be closed and the state will follow the old regime of liquor trade – meaning that only government owned stores will operate in the region. 

The CBI has filed an FIR against Sisodiya and the others involved in the case. Two IAS officers have been suspended from their duty. The probe agency has associated the names of the then excise commissioner Arava Gopi Krishna, who was an IAS Officer of the 2012 batch of AGMUT and the then deputy excise commissioner, Anand Kumar Tiwari, who was a 2003 batch DANICS cadre officer later appointed as the assistant excise commissioner Pankaj Bhatnagar and nine others. 

The agency also claimed that Vijay Nair- former CEO of Only Much Louder, Manoj Rai- a former employee of Pernod Ricard, Amandeep Dhal- owner of Brindco Spirits and Sameer Mahendru- owner of Indospirits are also equally involved in the scam. Besides, Amit Arora- Director of Buddy Retail Pvt. Ltd in Gurgaon, Dinesh Arora and Arjun Pandey were marked as close associates of Sisodiya and were alleged as criminals in the case. Several other complaints, such as liquor traders bribing  public servants for undue advantage have also come up. 

Conclusion On Delhi Liquor Policy

While the BJP did not shy away from slamming the AAP saying that the party is full of liars and the AAP-led government is a fail, the accused in the Delhi liquor policy, Sisodiya, held the then Lieutenant Governor, Anil Baijal, responsible for the faulty implementation of the New Delhi excise policy. According to Sisodiya, the policy was sent to the ex-LG and he was aggressive on the issue. But, last-minute changes in the policy led to a huge failure and a loss of revenue for the state. 

According to the AAP, the ex-LG had put one condition at the eleventh hour stating that the liquor shops must be granted permission by the DDA and the MCD for opening the store. Soon after the CBI raids, Sisodiya tweeted, “We welcome the CBI and will cooperate in the investigation till the truth is out. It is unfortunate that those who do good work are harassed like this. That is why our country has not yet become No. 1”. Kejriwal too stated that this is a new hoax of the BJP to put the AAP as they are worried about the increasing popularity of the AAP in Gujarat. He added that everybody is aware that the CBI is being regulated from the top, but nothing will come out of from the raid.

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