A DAY after it was penalised for charging tax on bananas which fall under the category of fresh fruits that are tax-free, the JW Marriott Chandigarh has landed in trouble again. The excise and taxation department, during an inspection at the Sector 35 hotel, seized 34 bottles of foreign liquor without holograms Sunday.
Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner Rajeev Chaudhary told Chandigarh Newsline, “One of the liquor brands — Rowson’s Reserve — which is not approved by the excise and taxation department to be kept or sold, was also found. This brand is not available or supplied by any company in Chandigarh. It has been found among the confiscated liquor bottles without holograms.”
Seven bottles of Rowson’s Reserve, 10 bottles of Cragganmore Scotch whisky, four bottles of Clynelish single malt whisky, 12 bottles of Chivas Regal and one bottle of Antiquity Blue were found without holograms, officials said.
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The AETC said they have issued a challan and a showcause notice will be issued to the hotel Monday. “This is a serious offence and may lead to cancellation of the hotel’s license. Not having holograms is a clear evasion of excise duties and VAT. We have confiscated and taken the same in our possession. When we asked them, they said they were not aware of it,” Chaudhary said.
“The hotel’s manager said they purchased the bottles from local distributors of liquor companies and have no knowledge of holograms and approval of brands. The department then verified from brand-owning companies regarding the same. They told us that they supply every bottle with hologram and that hotel authorities check it at the time of delivery,” the AETC said.
Holograms were introduced in Chandigarh in 2017 to curb liquor smuggling. A hologram confirms authenticity as it tracks the bottle from the time of manufacture to its point of sale. It shows a bottle’s date of manufacture and when was it sent to a retailer along with details on whether excise duty was paid on it or not.
Clause 46 of the UT Excise policy states, “Holograms/Intaglio printed security labels with holograms on packings/bottles of country liquor, Indian-made foreign liquor and Imported Foreign liquor will be mandatorily fixed by the licensee at his own expense.”
The checking was conducted on the directions of Excise and Taxation Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner Mandip Singh Brar.