THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Excise Department investigating various cases of illicit spirit haul and smuggling is on a sticky wicket as the personnel are finding it difficult to obtain the telephone call details of the suspects.
The reason behind this situation is attributed to an order issued by the Union Government which excluded the Excise wing from the list of the state agencies which can directly obtain details from the service providers. This issue has forced the Excise Department to rely on Cyber Cell of the State Police Department, which is suffering from an overload of cases.
Assistant Excise Commissioner Salim Kumar, who investigated the seizure of huge quantity of illicit liquor from near Menamkulam in 2010, said that the restriction imposed by the Union Government had affected the pace and efficiency of the probe.
“The 2010 spirit haul case was not a lone incident. Several cases are suffering as call details are provided at a snail’s pace. We submit the application to the Cyber Cell and they take up the issue with the service providers. This is time consuming. We have to wait for more than two weeks which otherwise require less than a day if we proceed directly,” he said. The Excise Department had earlier sent a request in 2008 also, which too met with the same fate.
The issue was raised twice by the department concerned to the Union Government requesting them to include the Excise Department too in the list but they never reverted and the officials in the state failed to pursue the issue further.
Express had found that the file sent on June 7, 2010 (file no:3074/F3/10/TD) to the Centre failed to evoke any response. Sources in the Taxes-F section revealed that no correspondence regarding the request was received from the Union Government.