Officials announced on Wednesday that the Delhi government’s excise department has generated revenue exceeding Rs 3,500 crore in the first half of the current fiscal year, with the sale of 27.6 crore liquor bottles. This revenue figure comes amidst controversy surrounding alleged irregularities in the now-scrapped excise policy for 2021-22.
Official data reveals that from April to September in the fiscal year 2023-24, the Delhi government accrued revenue totaling Rs 3,588 crore. This revenue from the liquor trade comprises Rs 2,457 crore in excise duty and Rs 1,131 crore in value-added tax (VAT) on the sale of 27.6 crore liquor bottles during this period.
During the same April-September period in the previous year, the excise policy for 2021-22 was revoked by the Delhi government following a recommendation for a CBI probe by Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena, due to alleged irregularities in its execution. This led to significant disruptions in retail liquor sales, with private vendors surrendering their licenses and shortages of stock caused by the CBI probe, according to officials.
In the preceding fiscal year of 2022-23, the government had garnered revenue of Rs 6,821 crore from the sale of over 62 crore liquor bottles.
The excise policy for 2021-22, introduced by the Delhi government to reform the liquor trade, was plagued by allegations of irregularities in its development and implementation, allegedly benefiting private entities. This controversy resulted in the arrest of then-deputy chief minister and excise department head, Manish Sisodia, in February of the current year. Additionally, AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh was arrested on Wednesday in connection with a money laundering case related to the excise matter, following a raid by the Enforcement Directorate at his North Avenue residence.
In the fiscal year 2021-22, the Delhi government had earned Rs 6,762 crore in revenue from excise and VAT on liquor sales.
Subsequently, after scrapping the excise policy for 2021-22, the Delhi government reverted to the previous system, with its four agencies assuming control of retail liquor trade as of September 1, 2022. The excise policy for 2021-22 had allowed private licensees to establish liquor vends throughout the city, marking a departure from the government’s previous involvement in retail liquor business.
(With inputs from PTI)