The Karnataka Excise Department booked the owner of a liquor store in Bengaluru after a customer bill exceeding Rs 50,000 went viral on social media, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday. Retail outlets are not permitted to sell more than 2.3 litres of Indian-made foreign liquor or 18.2 litres of beer to a customer per day.
Excise Deputy Commissioner (Bengaluru South) Giri J told The Indian Express that a first information report was filed against Vanilla Spirit Zone at Tavarekere Main Road in Bengaluru. An unidentified customer purchased liquor worth Rs 52,841.
The commissioner said prima facie, they found that there was a violation of the licence condition mandated by the Excise Department to retailers. “According to the bill, 17.4 litres Indian-made foreign liquor and 35.7 litres of beer have been sold to an individual. A first information report has been filed under the Karnataka Excise Act (Chapter VII, rule 36).”
Giri said the retailer claimed that eight people purchased the liquor, but it was billed together as the payment was made from a single debit card. “The investigation is now underway and further action will be taken accordingly.”
Unidentified Excise Department officials told The Indian Express that they are trying to trace the buyer and question him about the purchase.
Meanwhile, another liquor bill of Rs 95,347 was circulated on social media on Monday. The bill was of an outlet from Dollars Colony in Bengaluru. The Excise Department officials said, “All such cases will be looked into and violators will be heavily penalised for compromising their license norms”.
The lockdown, imposed first on March 24 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, was extended till May 17. However, last week, the Centre permitted a list of activities including the sale of liquor in red, orange and green zones starting on May 4. In its guidelines, the Centre said that vendors should let in only five customers at a time and ensure physical distancing is maintained.
However, after standalone liquor shops opened across India on Monday, nearly six weeks after being shut down, physical distancing norms were flouted. Huge lines were seen outside alcohol stores in major cities, with people packed into small spaces and posing a challenge for police personnel.
The Delhi government late on Monday imposed 70% extra tax on liquor and dubbed it as “special corona fees”. The decision came after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal warned people that his government will revoke relaxations allowed during the lockdown if they do not adhere to the guidelines. However, large crowds were seen at Delhi liquor shops again on Tuesday.