Lucknow, November 12 (Language) Nitin Aggarwal, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Excise and Prohibition in Uttar Pradesh Government, accused the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government of Delhi of adopting ‘corrupt practices’ to benefit the liquor mafia. Claimed that the excise policy of Yogi Adityanath led Uttar Pradesh government is transparent.
Aggarwal said that unlike Delhi, in Uttar Pradesh not more than two liquor shops can be allotted to a person.
In an interview with ‘PTI-Bhasha’, Aggarwal claimed that during the current tenure of Yogi government, no death occurred due to consumption of spurious liquor.
Targeting AAP, he asked, ‘Delhi Excise Policy has been a much talked about issue involving irregularities worth crores of rupees. Who benefited from this? Who did the money go to? Aam Aadmi Party should answer this.
The Delhi Excise Policy-2021-22 had come under the scanner after the Lieutenant Governor recommended a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation into alleged irregularities in its implementation. This policy was later abolished.
Taking a dig at AAP, Aggarwal said, “Why are party leaders worried? Now when the central agencies are investigating, they are panicking and blaming BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party). This makes it clear that the leaders who were responsible had some involvement in the excise scam and had benefited from the liquor mafia.”
The alleged excise policy scam case is being investigated by both CBI and ED. Both the central investigating agencies allege that irregularities were committed while amending the excise policy and undue benefits were given to license holders.
Former Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia is also an accused in this case. AAP has accused BJP of misusing central agencies to threaten opposition parties.
Aggarwal said, ‘The way liquor mafias were allowed to enter Delhi, the way zones were created and then sold as per their wish, I think there has never been a more corrupt government in the history of Delhi.’
When asked how the Excise Department of Uttar Pradesh is different from that of Delhi, Aggarwal said, ‘Zones were created in Delhi, which were allotted to their particular individuals. We have imposed a restriction that a person cannot have more than two (liquor) shops in the entire state.
The minister said, ‘The excise policy of Uttar Pradesh is pro-industry and provides equal opportunities to all. This can be gauged from the fact that six years ago there were 20 distilleries in the state, which has now increased to about 100.
Accusing the previous governments of opposition parties in Uttar Pradesh, Aggarwal said, ‘Earlier the policies of the state government were not transparent. Policies were made so that some liquor mafia could be benefited. The image of the Excise Department was not good in the governments of Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
He claimed, ‘The (present) government of Uttar Pradesh does not favor any particular person and provides equal opportunities to all. Anyone who wants to come and do business in the state is welcome.
The Excise Minister said, “In 2017, when the BJP government was formed in Uttar Pradesh, the state used to get revenue of Rs 14,000 crore from the Excise Department. Today the same revenue has increased to Rs 42,000 crore. Our target is to take this figure to Rs 50,000 crore in the current financial year.
He said that if GST (Goods and Services Tax) and VAT (Value Added Tax) are removed, the excise department gives the highest revenue to the state.
Aggarwal said, “We are moving forward with a growth rate of 10-12 percent. Our target is to take it to 18-19 percent on a year-on-year basis. We plan to take our revenue to Rs 80,000 crore by 2027.
Aggarwal claimed that during the second term of Chief Minister Yogi, there has been no death due to poisonous liquor in the state.
“There have been some unfortunate incidents in the past, like in Aligarh (36 people died in poisonous liquor tragedy in 2021),” he said. But since the beginning of Yogi’s second term, there has not been a single death due to consumption of poisonous liquor in Uttar Pradesh. This is a major achievement of the department.”
Aggarwal said that apart from general enforcement action, special campaigns are also being conducted against illicit liquor. He said that deaths due to drinking poisonous liquor occur when liquor is prepared locally by mixing urea with jaggery. Aggarwal said that if methyl alcohol is added, the alcohol becomes poisonous.