Excise dept conducts stock checking of 15 distilleries in Punjab

Chandigarh, May 23 (PTI) Amid row over excise revenue loss and liquor smuggling, Punjab Excise and Taxation Department has conducted stock checking at 15 distilleries in the state.

The checking was carried out on Friday, and strict action would be taken if any discrepancy was found during the inspection, officials said.

'We have conducted stock checking at 15 distilleries,' Principal Secretary Excise and Taxation A Venuprasad said on Saturday.     The action was taken after some liquor contractors raised the issue that liquor from other states was being pushed into Punjab for sale and distilleries here were not supplying alcohol to other states and disposing of their stock in the state only.

During stock checking, the department has found 22,000 liquor cases, which were to be supplied to Chhattisgarh at one of the distilleries.

'We are verifying whether it was really to be supplied to Chhattisgarh,' he said.

'We are compiling reports (on checking) and they will be ready by evening,' Venuprasad further said.           Several Congress legislators a few days ago had demanded probe against the chief secretary while blaming him for excise revenue loss after a row erupted at a May 9 meeting here in which some ministers had accused him of his 'unacceptable behaviour' with them.

On the other hand, opposition party Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had alleged that the liquor mafia in league with some Congress leaders caused 'loss' of Rs 5,600 crore to the state exchequer by allowing liquor from distilleries without payment of excise duty on the same.

A few days ago, the excise officials along with the police department had raided illegal distillery and liquor bottling plant in Patiala which was allegedly manufacturing illegal liquor during the lockdown period.

Meanwhile, the department has also ordered the transfer of 22 excise and taxation officers and 73 excise inspectors. PTI CHS VSD KJ KJ