CM sets up excise reforms group on illicit liquor trade - ECAS Punjab

CM sets up excise reforms group on illicit liquor trade

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Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 6

A day after he announced an SIT to probe the illicit liquor trade, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Saturday constituted an excise reforms group to break the nexus among manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.

The five-member group has been asked to submit its recommendations on destroying the nexus within 60 days, paving the way for eliminating illicit liquor trade and maximising state's excise revenue, a government spokesperson said.

The group comprises Housing and Urban Development Minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Public Works Minister Vijay Inder Singla, retired IAS officer DS Kalha, Adviser (Financial Resources) VK Garg and Secretary (School Education) Krishan Kumar.

It will work in coordination with the SIT, which has been tasked with investigating into all aspects of the illicit liquor trade, including complicity of Excise Department officials. The group will identify the gaps leading to revenue losses.

The Chief Minister has mandated the group to come out with its suggestions on long-term legal and administrative reforms and consulting the matter with the stakeholders.

In this process, the group may consider the suggestions or reports received from Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal on his visit to West Bengal and the previous Local Government Minister.

The spokesperson further said the Department of Excise and Taxation would provide information and other help to the group to facilitate its functioning.

AAP: SIT on liquor mafia eyewash

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Saturday said the three-member SIT, led by minister Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, was formed to divert people's attention from the illicit liquor trade. Leader of the Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema dismissed it as a "Sarkaria clean chit" commission. "The SIT is a design to cover the government-sponsored liquor mafia. How can a minister be impartial in investigating the liquor mafia and large-scale peddling, allegedly being run by the Chief Minister, who holds the Excise Department?" he added. TNS

from The Tribune

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