Delhi liquor policy: ED raids 40 locations across the country
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided 40 locations throughout the country on Friday, including the premises of liquor sellers and makers, India Today reported. The action by the probe agency is in response to allegations of corruption in the Delhi Excise Policy against the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, the report said. Officials said searches were being conducted in Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mangaluru, and Chennai.
- The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is probing alleged irregularities by the AAP administration in issuing liquor licenses, on the recommendations of Delhi Lieutenant-Governor (LG) VK Saxena.
- Later, the ED initiated its probe based on the FIR filed by the CBI.
- Notably, the Delhi excise policy has been a cause of contention between the AAP and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government.
The Delhi AAP administration released its excise policy in November 2021, and the ED is currently looking into suspected irregularities in its creation and implementation. Although the policy has now been reversed, the probe is on. In connection with the liquor policy case, the ED had earlier on September 6 searched more than 35 places in Delhi and other cities.
According to reports, the ED launched its investigation into the liquor policy matter in response to the FIR filed by CBI. The CBI has named Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and other officials in the case. However, the claims of irregularities and corruption in the execution of the now-defunct liquor policy have been rejected by Sisodia and the AAP.
Moreover, Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta had questioned the AAP on the purported income drop caused by the now-canceled excise policy. The government previously got Rs. 5,068 crore from the sale of 132 lakh liters, but under the new policy, the income was reduced to Rs. 4,465 crore despite the liquor sale tripling to roughly 245 lakh liters, he alleged earlier this month.
Last month, Sisodia said the Delhi Liquor Policy 2021-22 was "the best." He had asserted it would have earned the Delhi government a revenue of Rs. 10,000cr every year, but former LG Anil Baijal was "asked" to change his stance just 48 hours before the implementation. Enforced in November 2021 and scrapped in July 2022, it privatized the sale of alcoholic beverages in Delhi.