Govt bans Vat 69, Smirnoff sale in Delhi for two years

Liquor stores in Delhi will not be able to sell Vat 69 whisky and Smirnoff vodka for nearly two years as the Delhi government financial commissioner blacklisted the manufacturer- United Spirits Limited (USL) -for allegedly using duplicate barcodes and banned it from selling the brands in the national capital.

In a September 14 order, financial commissioner Anindo Majumdar said USL had violated provisions of the Delhi Excise Act, 2009 and Delhi Excise Rules, 2010 by using unauthorised and loose barcodes, which could be easily misused.

“I am of the view that the appellant violated provisions of the Delhi Excise Act, 2009, Delhi Excise Rules, 2010, the terms and conditions of the licence issued to it and the standard operating procedure framed by the Delhi Excise Department and that consequently the department has rightly imposed the penalty of blacklisting under Rule 70 of the Delhi Excise Rules, 2010 upon United Spirits LTD (USL), Aurangabad,” the financial commissioner said in his order.

The order came on an appeal filed by USL, which had challenged the orders of the deputy commissioner and commissioner, Delhi government’s excise department, which had blacklisted USL, Aurangabad, and its additional source, Sangrur, Punjab, for three years.

United Spirits Limited was not available for a comment on the matter.

The Delhi excise department’s counsel advocate Dheeraj Kumar Singh said the order implied that there was a ban of the sale of these two brands in the capital.

“The ban of three years on these two liquors was imposed on May 22, 2017, and it was challenged before the financial commissioner. Hence, the two liquor brands would not be available in the stores of the capital for the remaining period,” Singh said.

Banning the liquor, the financial commissioner stated, “It is, however, established that unauthorised barcodes were used. Moreover, the existence of loose barcodes has been established. These loose barcodes could easily be misused and cause danger to public health”.