VAT 69 and Smirnoff Vodka banned in Delhi for two years

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Say good-bye to your favourite whisky and vodka brands for 2 years in Delhi.

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. The court of Delhi financial commissioner has said these barcodes could be misused, and thus cause danger to the public. Duplicate or unauthorised barcodes can also be used to avoid tax, Business Standard reported.

The Delhi government has directed all alcohol vends to ensure the sale of liquor through scanning from February to ensure safety and tax compliance.

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The Delhi government’s financial commissioner has blacklisted Diageo’s subsidiary in India, United Spirits Limited (USL), for two years for selling their products using unauthorised barcodes, which violates provisions of the Delhi Excise Act, 2009. The court said,

“It is 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”.

The actual ban on these products was imposed for three years on May 22, 2017, but USL challenged the orders issued by the deputy commissioner and commissioner, the Delhi government’s excise department, and had moved the court of the Delhi financial commissioner. As per the initial order, the company’s Aurangabad and Sangrur units were banned from manufacturing Vat 69 whisky and Smirnoff vodka for three years. Business Standard also said that now, stores in Delhi will not be able to sell these brands for the remaining period of around two years.

“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, reported the Hindustan Times.

The newspaper also quoted Delhi government’s counsel advocate Dheeraj Kumar Singh as saying that the order implies that there was a ban on the sale of these two brands in the capital.

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All the in-charges of liquor vends in Delhi have been directed to put their system in place to ensure 100 per cent sale through scanning. The sale of liquor without scanning could attract penal action against the vendor.

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