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Posted at: Jan 12, 2017, 2:02 AM; last updated: Jan 12, 2017, 2:02 AM (IST)

MLA accuses excise dept of defamation

Licence fee row

  • I did not operate liquor vends in the state during my tenure as MLA. I have already sent a defamation notice to the state Excise and Taxation Commissioner for Rs 100 crore.— Deep Malhotra, Faridkot SAD MLA

Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 11

Akali MLA from Faridkot Deep Malhotra, who owns several breweries, has accused the state Excise and Taxation Commissioner of defaming him by claiming that he owes several crores to the department as licence fee for the liquor vends auctioned to him.

Malhotra, who was brought into politics in 2012 by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, has not got the ticket this time. A few days after the Akali Dal’s ticket allotment, the excise department began a probe against Malhotra, “on the suspicion that he was using other businessmen to indirectly run liquor vends in Punjab”. Being an MLA, no licences could have been issued to him. He claimed that the department had earlier issued him a notice for sealing his bank accounts, but later withdrawn it.

Despite repeated attempts to contact him, Excise and Taxation Commissioner Varun Roojam remained unavailable for comment. A top official in the department said their investigation had shown that licences were issued to a firm for liquor vends in Moga, where Malhotra is one of the partners.

“The department is within its jurisdiction to take action against all partners of a defaulting firm,” said the officer, adding that two of the partners had submitted affidavits saying that Malhotra was a “silent” partners in the firm.

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