BJP today accused the JD(U)-led Bihar government of providing Rs 100 crore undue benefit to liquor suppliers by increasing base rates of country liquor in violation of tender conditions.
“The state government has revised the base rate of 200 ml country liquor pouches from Rs 2.66 to 3.04, and of 400 ml pouches from Rs 4.49 to Rs 5.26.
“This is in violation of the short-term tender conditions which will provide over Rs 100 crore undue benefit to liquor manufacturers and suppliers in just 26 days from December 5 to 31, and if left unchecked, it will shoot up to Rs 1,000 crore within a year,” senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi told reporters.
He said the amount was calculated on the basis of Minimum Guaranteed Quota for suppliers, fixed by the excise department on a monthly basis beforehand.
“The state government has provided freedom to loot. All this is being done at the behest of people close to former Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who are posted in the excise department. Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi is oblivious and unconcerned to the scam,” Modi alleged.
It was a serious breach of policy and the BJP would raise it in and outside the legislature, he said.
The Bihar State Beverages Corporation Limited, a state agency under the excise department, procures all liquor in the state and distributes it to retailers.
The state government changed the base rates following the demand of liquor manufacturers, who had been seeking a revision because of increase in the price of rectified spirit used in making country liquor, Modi said.
The former deputy CM said a similar demand to revise base rates had been raised by country liquor suppliers in 2012 and they had moved Patna High Court, but the state government had said in an affidavit that it cannot be done as it would tantamount to financial irregularity.
“The Patna High Court then dismissed the writs filed by liquor suppliers on the basis of state government’s affidavit.
But, this time the government itself violated the tender conditions, without bothering about financial irregularity,” he added.
Modi had on December 9 claimed that the state exchequer would lose Rs 341.32 crore revenue between April 2014 to March 2019 due to 17 varying rates in tendering for liquor supply in Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles in the state.