Chandigarh: Excise department seals nine liquor vends, de-seals them later

Cites delay in licence fee payment; liquor firm director claims witch-hunt

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published:November 18, 2016 5:12 am
Liquor stores in Chandigarh new, Exercise department in Chandigarh, liquor in Chandigarh news, latest news, India news An official of Excise Department seals the wine shop in Sector 26, Chandigarh, after raid on Thursday. Express

THE UT excise and taxation department on Thursday sealed nine liquor vends belonging to Liquor World Pvt Ltd for delay in payment of licence fee. The department, however, later de-sealed all the vends located in Sector 9, Sector 26, Sector 40 and Kajheri village, after verifying receipts from the treasury and bank.

Watch What Else is Making news

Kamal Bajaj, director of Liquor World Pvt Ltd, had to pay the last instalment of the licence fee of Rs 2.52 crore by October 30 and by November 15 with an interest at the rate of 1.5 per cent per month. Due to demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes, Bajaj sought an extension for payment of the licence fee. Bajaj claimed that the department on November 9 assured him that an extension of 15 days would be given. However, he said that he managed to pay the fee on November 16 and submitted the receipts to the department. He alleged that despite making the payment, the department sealed his vends without serving any notice.

Assistant excise and taxation commissioner Ravinder Kaushik said that Bajaj did not deposit the fee in time and did not inform the department after submitting the fee. “We were forced to seal the vends after he did not produce the receipts despite repeated requests,” claimed Kaushik.

Coming to Bajaj’s defence, Wine Merchants Association president Satya Pal said that even though the contractor failed to deposit the fee in time, the department should have refrained from taking such a harsh step.

Earlier this year, Bajaj had served a notice to the department to refund the licence fee for non-issuance of IMFL quota in time and to compensate the losses suffered on account of maintaining the infrastructure of liquor vends, including rent of the showroom and salaries of the employees.

Bajaj had also served a legal notice to the secretary (excise & taxation) and commissioner (excise & taxation), questioning appointment of Ravinder Kaushik as UT assistant excise and taxation commissioner (AETC). Kaushik, who is a Haryana cadre officer, joined the Chandigarh Administration on deputation last year. While serving as AETC, Kaushik is drawing a salary of assistant professor from College of Arts. In the notice, Bajaj questioned Kaushik’s eligibility by quoting the government rules.

“I am being targeted for taking on the department,” alleged Bajaj.