The Delhi government's Excise Department, which is under the scanner with a CBI probe recommended by the lieutenant governor, has cancelled a tender suspecting cartelisation, for the supply of country liquor in the city, officials said.
"The department cancelled the tender for the supply of country liquor in 2022-23 after it was found that the bidders were suspected of pooling their resources to keep the highest bid low," said an official Wednesday.
Meanwhile, in a related development, the officials said about three-four companies that were issued licences for the retail sale of Indian manufactured foreign liquor could shut shop in coming days over several issues, bringing down the number of operational vends in the city to around 400.
They said the tender referred to above for the supply of country liquor in the city was cancelled in April also after bidders did not show any interest, the officer said.
Lt Governor VK Saxena last week recommended a CBI probe into alleged violations of rules and procedural lapses in implementation of the Excise policy 2021-22. He has also directed the Chief Secretary to submit a report on allegations of cartelisation in tendering of licences for retail sale of liquor.
Three more companies that were awarded zonal licences for the retail sale of liquor could surrender the licences in next few days, officials said.
Under the Excise Policy 2021-22, Delhi was divided into 32 zones with licences issued for retail liquor sale through 849 vends.
In May this year licensees of nine of the 32 zones had surrendered their licences over various issues including financial non-viability and problem in opening Vends in non-confirming wards.
This had led to decrease in number of shops that had opened from nearly 640 to over 450.