New Delhi: Amid the ongoing probe into the Delhi liquor scam, the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government on Wednesday extended its ‘old excise policy’ by six months, the Excise Department said. The Delhi government has also asked the officials to prepare a new excise policy soon. The Excise Department has said that during these six months there will be 5 dry days on Mahavir Jayanti, Good Friday, Buddha Purnima, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha.
The Delhi government scrapped the new excise policy and implemented the old one for the time being. The officials have not been able to formulate a new excise policy, due to which the old policy has been extended for six more months.
Manish Sisodia will remain in judicial custody till March 20
Meanwhile, Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia is currently in ED’s custody in a case related to this excise policy. He was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) during his judicial custody at Tihar Jail, where he is lodged.
Sisodia was arrested by the CBI on February 26 in the liquor policy case and was sent to 14-day judicial custody on March 6. He was arrested in connection with alleged irregularities in the formulation and implementation of the Excise Policy of the National Capital Region. Delhi (GNCTD).
Delhi’s Rouse Avenue Court sent him to judicial custody till March 20. The ED had also made another arrest earlier in this case as it took Hyderabad-based businessman Arun Ramachandra Pillai into its custody.
The probe agency has also questioned Indian National Committee (BRS) MLC and Kavitha, daughter of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, in the liquor policy matter.
The Excise Policy was passed by the Delhi Cabinet led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in 2021 in the midst of the deadly Delta Covid-19 pandemic. The version of the Delhi government is that the policy was formulated to ensure generation of optimum revenue, elimination, sale of spurious liquor or non-duty paid liquor in Delhi, besides improving user experience.
The CBI had registered a case against alleged corruption in the Excise Policy of 2021-22. The excise duty policy was later rolled back by the AAP government. Sisodia was among 15 others against whom the CBI had registered an FIR. Excise officials, liquor company officials, dealers, some unknown public servants and private individuals were booked in the case.
It was alleged that irregularities were committed including amendment in excise policy and undue benefits were given to license holders including exemption or reduction in license fee, extension of L-1 license without approval etc.