Kickbacks row: AP proceeds to review excise policy

State Excise Minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana, who escaped being axed despite admitted that the existing excise policy was flawed and needed revision.

Last Updated: Feb 09, 2012, 16:23 PM IST

Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh government has started an exercise to review its Excise Policy after the liquor syndicate-politicians-officials nexus left the entire
system shaken.

State Excise Minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana, who escaped being axed despite getting caught in the centre of the controversy, admitted that the existing excise policy was flawed and needed revision.
"The current system of auction (of liquor shops) is flawed. It needs to be revised...we are on the job," Mopidevi told newsmen here today.

A team of senior Excise Department officials visited Tamil Nadu recently to study the excise policy in vogue there. The team would visit Kerala and Karantaka next for a similar study based on which the new AP policy would be drafted.

"The next round of auctions is due in June. So we should have a new policy in place before that," the Minister added.

"Syndicates are neither new nor restricted to liquor trade alone. Syndicates exist in sand and other businesses as well," Mopidevi pointed out, in reply to a question, adding that several members of the liquor syndicate besides officials and
men of the Excise Department were arrested by the state anti-corruption bureau for indulging in corrupt practices.

The liquor syndicates issue has been rocking Andhra Pradesh with the ACB bringing to light the involvement of Excise officials, politicians, liquor traders and even some
lower rung journalists across the state. It is estimated that a staggering sum of over Rs 5,000 crore changes hands every year as the liquor traders flout all rules and sell the brands at exhorbitant rates.

State Congress president and Transport Minister Botsa Satyanarayana admitted his family members owned 27 percent stake each in 31 liquor shops but denied being part of the liquor syndicate.

PTI