The state excise department, in its crackdown on sellers overcharging for liquor, has found its revenue jump 17 per cent compared to last year. The department collected Rs 800 crore through excise duty on liquor during October. During the same month last year, the collection was Rs 684 crore.
“We started registering cases against dealers who charged more than the maximum retail price for liquor. This is quite a substantial jump,” Dr Sanjay Mukherjee, state excise commissioner, told this newspaper.
“The overall income of the department jumped 18 per cent compared to last year for the same period. This is something significant, after it was argued that the state government’s decision to hike excise duty might result in a major dip,” the commissioner said.
Until now, MRP was something that was always overlooked in liquor trade. But the hiked prices turned lower-middle and labour classes to cheaper booze. Sometimes, they tend to lean towards spurious liquor to save money, excise department officials said.
The excise department registered 735 cases for violation of retail sales rules in October. As per the rules, no dealer can charge more than the MRP, and after receiving a number of complaints, six senior officials were deputed to head teams to conduct the drive.
Cases against bootlegging also boosted sales of branded liquor. “The department arrested 1,796 people in such cases, and confiscated booty worth Rs 2.39 crore,” Mukherjee said. During September, the department registered 122 cases for MRP violations and 708 of bootlegging, with arrests of 344 people.
Number of cases registered in October for violation of sale at MRP
Rs 800 cr
Amount collected through excise duty on liquor during October