Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Saturday said he has written to the CBI to probe the changing stands of former LG Anil Baijal on opening of liquor shops in unauthorised colonies in the capital city.
Sisodia alleged: “Why was the decision changed 48 hours before all the liquor shops were set to open in last November? Which shopkeepers got benefitted and under whose pressure LG reversed his decision, all these should be answered”. Because of the former LG’s sudden change of decision, around 300-350 shops did not open. Those who were taking this decision, should be investigated, Sisodia alleged in a press conference.
“I have written to the CBI to probe ex-LG’s change of stance on opening of liquor shops in unauthorised areas,” he said.
The Deputy CM said that the AAP government had passed the new excise policy in May 2021, according to which the number of shops in the whole of Delhi was to be 849 as it were earlier.
“But in the policy, the liquor shops were not equally distributed so, we put special emphasis on the equal distribution of the liquor stores in each wards”, he said.
Sisodia said that when the file was sent to former LG Baijal, he suggested many things which were considered and later the file was again sent to him in June last year and he approved. The new policy emphasised that if the liquor shops were divided equally, there would be 2-3 shops in each ward, he said.
He further alleged that the former LG didn’t make any objection regarding the opening of liquor shops in the unauthorised area when the file was sent to him. But, when the file of opening the shops was sent to him during the first week of November, he suddenly changed his stand.
The shops were scheduled to open from November 17, but LG put a condition on November 15 that DDA’s approval is needed to open shops in unauthorised areas. Whereas before this, LG had been approving the opening of shops there, he alleged.
Under the old policy, even where there were shops in unauthorised areas which also did not open. After that the vendors went to court and the court ordered the government to return their license fee, due to which the government suffered the loss of thousands of crores of rupees.
“This happened because the LG changed his stand without consulting the government and the cabinet. This deliberately benefited some shopkeepers. That’s why we are sending it to CBI”, said Sisodia.
“This current policy has benefitted more as compared to the previous years, but had the LG not changed the decision, it would have been more beneficial. Shops in the unauthorised areas have been given approval to operate under the regime of three former LGs. Why this happened this time should be answered”, the Deputy CM asked.