The Punjab excise and taxation department has missed its revenue targets for the past three years, Congress MP Partap Singh Bajwa alleged on Tuesday, as he sought to counter the party-led state government's claim that there was a marked increase in excise revenue. Blaming liquor smuggling and liquor mafia in the state for revenue loss, Rajya Sabha MP Bajwa sought a probe by a central agency or a sitting judge into the matter.
On May 15, the state excise and taxation department, which is with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, had said the revenue receipts had shown marked increase since the Amarinder Singh government came to power in 2017.
It had also stressed that it has not incurred any losses in the financial year 2019-20, except those resulting from the COVID-19-related lockdown.
Bajwa, who is a former Punjab Congress chief, took to Twitter on Tuesday and attacked his party-led government in the state over the excise revenue issue.
Bajwa asked the chief minister that when the government's own accounts showed missing of excise revenue targets, how is it that you have publicly declared that this is not true?
In a series of tweets, Bajwa pointed out that the excise department missed the revenue target during the first year (2017-18) of the state government by Rs 286 crore and then by Rs 927 crore in the second year (2018-19).
He further claimed that till February 2020, the excise department collected Rs 4,380 crore out of a target of Rs 6,201 crore.
Bajwa said in his tweet that in the last three years, the Congress-led government in Punjab had not only missed its revenue targets, but it seems to be missing it by a larger amount each year.
These losses must have arisen due to the illegal smuggling of liquor across state boundaries by distilleries, with the aim of evading excise taxes with the help of excise department officials, Bajwa claimed in his tweet.
Citing news reports that 900 cases were registered under the Excise Act from March 22 till April 29 in the state, Bajwa tweeted, These are just those that have been unearthed, which means that a larger network is functioning. The liquor mafia is growing in the state, and it is time that we allow a central agency or a sitting judge who is independent of the government of Punjab to investigate this issue immediately, Bajwa demanded. Earlier, 10 Congress legislators had demanded a probe against the CS Karan Avtar Singh, blaming him for alleged excise revenue losses.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)