L-G expresses displeasure over AAP tweets dragging his name into Delhi excise policy row

Senior AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said he was unaware of the issue but added that Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had levelled allegations against the former L-G with proof.

Published: 08th August 2022 09:45 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th August 2022 09:45 PM   |  A+A-

Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena.

Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena. (File Photo | PTI)

By PTI

NEW DELHI: Delhi Lt Governor V K Saxena has expressed displeasure to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over AAP's "mischievous and misleading" tweets dragging his name into the row over alleged irregularities in the city's government's Excise Policy 2021-22, sources said on Monday.

In a communication to Kejriwal, Saxena cited two "brazenly mischievous, misleading and defamatory tweets" by the Aam Aadmi Party that were later removed, the sources in the lieutenant governor's office said.

Senior AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said he was unaware of the issue but added that Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had levelled allegations against the former L-G with proof.

"In the tweets, LG was used instead of 'ex-LG' with the picture of current Lt Governor V K Saxena to deliberately misrepresent facts and mislead the people," the sources said.

The LG objected to the "petty propaganda", seeking the removal of the tweets and an apology.

"With the L-G raising the matter with the chief minister, the tweets were later removed," they said.

Sisodia, who also holds excise portfolio, had on Saturday blamed former L-G Anil Baijal for changing his stand over opening of liquor vends in non-conforming areas of the city under Excise Policy 2021-22, claiming it caused gains to some licensees while leading to a huge loss of revenue to the government.

Without taking any name, Sisodia had said the L-G on November 15, 2021, two days before implementation of the Excise policy, had changed his stand although he earlier approved the proposal for opening the liquor vends in non-conforming areas.

He claimed the L-G (Baijal) had put the condition of permission from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), due to which liquor vends could not open in non-conforming areas, causing a loss of thousands of crores of rupees to the Delhi government.

Following this charge by Sisodia, the AAP on Sunday tweeted from its official handle a poster, saying "LG's corruption in Delhi Excise Policy. Manish Sisodia demands CBI probe" with a picture of the present L-G, the sources said.

BJP MP Manoj Tiwari also slammed the AAP, asking why was the tweet removed by the ruling party in Delhi.

"Why this tweet was deleted by AAP? Reality is that Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia gave permission for opening 217 new liquor stores in Delhi," he tweeted, daring Kejriwal to prove his claim wrong.

L-G Saxena has already recommended a CBI probe into alleged violation of rules and procedural lapses in the implementation of Excise Policy 2021-22.

He has also approved suspension and major disciplinary action against 11 officials, including a former excise commissioner of the Delhi government, for their alleged involvement in the irregularities.

Meanwhile, the excise department of the Delhi government is looking at an overhaul with many vacancies created by the suspension of officials and repatriation of police personnel deputed there, officials said on Monday.

Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena had last week suspended 11 officials of the department, including the excise commissioner, deputy commissioner and three assistant commissioners, after an inquiry by the vigilance directorate into alleged irregularities related to the implementation of the AAP government's excise policy.

An order issued by the excise department had also repatriated 39 Delhi Police personnel attached with the department for enforcement purposes.

The personnel were working with the department and its intelligence branch for long, officials stated.

The repatriated police personnel included seven sub-inspectors and several head constables and constables.

The development has created vacancies of officers as well as office staff at the department, especially at a time when the department is tasked with the job to issue licenses for opening of 500 liquor stores by four Delhi government undertakings (DTTDC, DSIIDC, DCCWS and DSCSC) from September 1.

The excise department has also been strengthening secretarial staff to help the committee formed to prepare the fresh excise regime.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government has withdrawn the Excise Policy 2021-22, and is going back to the old one that was operational before November 17, 2021.

Meanwhile, new excise commissioner K M Uppu and an assistant commissioner recently took charge at the department.

An official of the department said more officers and staff members will join the team in coming days.

A delegation of the Delhi government's SC/ST/OBC Employees Confederation met L-G Saxena and welcomed the scrapping of the excise policy.

"The delegation including employees of DTTDC, DSIIDC, DCCWS and DSCSC- that will run liquor stores in the city from September 1, expressed confidence that reverting to the old policy would ensure financial sustainability of these organizations and thousands of employees," the L-G office said in a tweet.



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