70% stake in IMFL business in Punjab, monopoly of two firms : The Tribune India

Tribune News Service

Ruchika M Khanna

Chandigarh, 7 September

In Punjab, the allotment of wholesale liquor licenses for Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) and Bottled-in-Origin (BIO) brands to two companies Brindco and Anant Wines & Spirits has come under the purview of the Enforcement Directorate.

The names of these two firms have already been registered in the Delhi Excise Policy case. The agency searched the residences of Excise and Taxation Commissioner Varun Roojam and Joint Commissioner Naresh Dubey yesterday.

Both the companies have been appointed as sole L1 licensees by the two largest IMFL manufacturers in Punjab. As a result, more than 70 per cent of IMFL and BIO business has gone to them. This year, IMFL is expected to sell 60 lakh cases in the state.

Sources said Amit Arora, reportedly at the center of the Delhi excise policy case, has a stake in a bottling plant in Rajpura-Badi Punjab Bottlers Pvt Ltd. He reportedly used his “contacts” at the Punjab Excise Department to get a structural look. Different excise policy prepared this year. Sources said that Arora’s hand is also being told behind giving L1 license to both the companies.

The AAP government in Punjab brought its first excise policy in June this year. Accordingly, each distiller can appoint only one wholesale distributor (L1 licensee). Retailers were barred from engaging in wholesale trade (which was permitted under the previous policy). The fee for obtaining an L1 license was also raised substantially. As a result, both Brindco and Eternal Wines got licenses for all the major IMFL and some fast selling beer brands, and the margins given to them for the retail sale of wine increased manifold.

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Ever since both the companies are under the scanner of central agencies, several liquor brands of BIO and IMFL have gone out of stock in the Punjab market.

Denying the role of the AAP government in the matter, party spokesperson Malvinder Kang said, “This is a false propaganda by the opposition parties as their monopoly in the liquor trade has ended. During the previous regime, liquor manufacturers were also wholesalers and retailers. Due to our policy, the prices of liquor have come down. There has been a substantial increase in excise duty collection.”

False propaganda by opposition parties: AAP

  • Brindco and Anant Wines & Spirits hold wholesale liquor licenses for IMFL brands in Punjab
  • Named in Delhi excise policy case, both the firms have more than 70 per cent stake in IMFL business in Punjab
  • An ‘accused’ in Delhi case also played a role in making Punjab’s excise policy

Outrage in the bureaucracy after the raid

  • Following the ED’s raid, Excise and Taxation Commissioner Varun Roojam on Wednesday met other senior officials amid growing displeasure over the ‘lack of support’ from political bosses.

#Enforcement Directorate