GUWAHATI, July 23 - What happens to the illegally traded liquor seized by the Excise sleuths? Are all the seized items destroyed religiously? Senior officials in the Excise Commissionerate here are not sure.
Officials in the Excise Commissionerate do not rule out the possibility of pilferage of the seized liquor while in custody of the district officers. Seized of the problem, the Excise Commissioner today directed the district Excise officers to report the details of seizures online immediately.
“The new online application namely seizures report has been activated. Hereafter all seizure details must be submitted online only and immediately. Non-reporting shall be viewed seriously and hard copy reports and delayed reports shall not be accepted,” a note circulated to all Superintendents of Excise last week stated.
“Online seizures report will help in getting real-time information, will ensure proper maintenance of seized stock till destruction order or auction order is given by Deputy Commissioner or court. Pilferage will be checked and sale or consumption of seized liquor will not be possible. The Commissionerate will have a track of cases also and seized stock can be kept intact,” it added. Excise officials say the destruction of the seized items takes some time.
“Say for example 100 cases are seized. The destruction is done after several weeks, following an order from the court or the DC. By that time, no one knows what was the actual amount of seizure. The Commissionerate has no role in the destruction procedure. There was no procedure to verify the amount at the time of destruction,” an official said, adding that unconfirmed reports indicate that the pilferage could be up to 50 per cent in some cases. From now on, the Commissionerate will tally the list given at the time of seizure and deputy a person to verify it during the time of destruction. In the last financial year, 29,804 cases of illegal liquor trade were detected by Excise sleuths in the State.
Meanwhile, the department has registered a phenomenal growth in collection of revenue since the launch of its online operation in April. The growth in May last year was 2.3 per cent, which rose to 34 per cent in May this year. The department registered this rise despite half of the retail liquor outlets closing down their shutters in the State following a Supreme Court ruling against sale of liquor within certain limits on national highways.