Despite the Ministry of Defence’s guidelines to the States that the defence-civil establishments are not entitled to sell liquor, the authorities in at least one district of the State issued military canteen licences to defence civil organisations, resulting in loss to the Government revenue.
The unauthorised act has grabbed the spotlight in the wake of the latest findings of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).
Under the Annual Excise Policy for the years 2017-18 to 2020-21, Excise duty on Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and Beer meant for military canteens was fixed lower than that imposed for civil consumption. However the audit found that the Joint Director, Canteen Services, Integrated Headquarter of Ministry of Defence (MoD), New Delhi had clarified (July 2017) that defence-civil establishments are not entitled to sell liquor, the audit pointed out.
Despite this, District Excise Officer Bolangir issued military canteen licences on 31 March 2018 and 29 March 2019 to Quality Assurance Establishment (Armaments), Badmal.
The IMFL from the depots of Odisha State Beverages Corporation Limited (OSBCL) were provided to the establishment at subsidised rate of 70 per cent of the applicable Excise Duty resulting in loss of revenue.
The Department stated (April 2022) that Demand Notice had been issued (April 2022) for deposit of differential ED of Rs 75.35 lakhs by the unit, as pointed out by Audit.