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Delhi Liquor Policy: BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi Says Kejriwal Govt. Promoted Cartelisation
Arvind Kejriwal’s government and its ministers are in troubled waters, after severe allegations were raised by senior members of Bharatiya Janata Party on the irregularities and violations in the Delhi Liquor Policy.
New Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal's government and its ministers are in troubled waters, after severe allegations were raised by senior members of Bharatiya Janata Party on the irregularities and violations in the Delhi Liquor Policy. Addressing a press conference on Friday, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi questioned Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to explain the said decisions taken to clear Liquor license in the national capital.
Speaking at the party's headquarters here in New Delhi, Lekhi accused the Kejriwal led Delhi government of breaking the rules and regulations to benefit the "liquor mafia". She stated that every ward in Delhi is now operating 3 liquor shops, including at spaces such as educational institutions, public market space. Lekhi noted that inspite of women groups and civil societies condemning the decision of Delhi government's actions on granting license, the liquor policy has not been changed.
"I can only say that all this exercise was taken with ulterior motives which do not meet the eye. And what kind of losses have happened to the public exchequer can only be guessed, so, what kind of monetary transactions have taken place. This is what we wish to know," said Lekhi during the media briefing.
"This so-called sticker of Imaandar Sarkar (honest government) will be given to you later when you decide to give us the facts. The very first fact is that on October 25th, 2021, a notice was issued by Excise department of Delhi to the companies concerned who were part of the cartelisation process, in tenure process. What happened to this notice? What action was taken; what investigation happened?" Lekhi said demanding answer from the Kejriwal government.
The BJP leader held a document in her hand and claimed that they have 'exposed' discrepancies by the government in giving waivers to liquor firms. Lekhi said that "firms were given a waiver of Rs 144.36 crore on July 14, 2022 without the Cabinet's nod."
BJP Delhi President Adesh Gupta said that his party whole-heartedly welcomes Lieutenant Governor's decision to call for a CBI enquiry on the matter. It has been reported that Delhi LG VK Saxena has recommended a CBI probe into its Excise Policy, 2021-22, over alleged violations of rules and procedural lapses.
Slamming the recent decisions taken by the Delhi government on liquor distribution, Gupta said that the education model of Delhi means offering liquor to school children. He said that the Dry Days in the capital have been reduced from 21 days to mere 3 days. The BJP leaders also said that the new liquor policy, as cleared by the state government, is also in violation of the Master Plan of Delhi.
Speaking to the Hans India, BJP leader and Delhi MLA Ramvir Singh Bidhuri said that the matter will be taken to the streets and the party will demand for the resignation of the deputy chief minister. Deputy Chief Minister and AAP leader Manish Sisodia heads the Delhi Excise Duty department.
"The government has extended the (liquor) sale hours, reduced Dry Days, and even given the freedom to companies to test the quality of the liquor at their own private laboratories instead of government labs. And then you (Kejriwal government) say that 5 such schools will be opened in Delhi that will 'educate' people about right way to consume alcohol," Bidhuri told Hans India.
He also said that the chief minister is well aware that 100 such wards in Delhi, which comes under the Master Plan, cannot authorise operation of any liquor shop. Yet these wards have alcohol shops, making it a clear violation of the Master Plan.
When asked as to why the matter was not raised by the BJP before, Bidhuri clarified, "We have been raising this issue for a long time. Kejriwal put pressure on the media as to not to publicise or question anything on the matter. We carried out a 100 days protest at Jantar Mantar, where all our 7 MPs, and MLAs were present… There was a lot of pressure on the media to not publish the issue (liquor policy)."