LAHORE - The Punjab Excise, Taxation and Narcotics Control (ET&NC) Department unsealed a liquor factory as police concerned gave ‘clean-chit’ to it.

The factory was unsealed just six days of its closure on charges of sale of 30,000-litre substandard liquor.

On September 23 last year, the Shafiqabad police seized a consignment of 30,000-litre liquor being illegally transported by ‘Premier Chemical Industry Sheikhupura’ – a licence holder factory and put the matter into the notice of the Excise authorities.

On October 7, the Excise authorities ‘took action’ and conducted an inspection of the factory. The Inspection team reported that the management was involved in illegal sale of illicit liquor.

On December 30, Excise DG Akram Ashraf Gondal issued orders to suspend its licence of said industry.

In the suspension orders, the DG said: “A team of this Directorate General visited the distillery on October 7 and inspected its two-year record as well as current status. During inspection, the team pointed out a number of discrepancies/irregularities to distillery management as contained in its inspection report.”

It added: “During investigation of a case lodged at Police Station Shafiqabqad, Lahore on September 23 vide FIR No 951/16 under section 3 and 4 of the Prohibition (Enforcement of Hadd) Order, 1979, it has come to the notice through Zimni report that Premier Chemical Industry (Distillery) is involved in the sale of illicit liquor of 30,000 liters.

“The management of distillery also failed to streamline and rectify the irregularities pointed out by the team despite lapse of a considerable period of over and above two months. The above said irregularities tantamount to the violations of the conditions of the License D-2 and Law on the subject.”

On December 19, a show cause notice was issued to the distillery wherein it was required to explain its position within seven days as to why your D- Licence might not be cancelled under the Punjab Excise Act, 1914 and rules made hereunder, but you have failed to do so.

“In pursuance of powers vested under Section 36 of Punjab Excise Act, 1914 read with rules as contained in Chapter 9 of Punjab Excise Manual Vol-II and conditions of the Licence, the undersigned being competent authority is hereby suspend the D-2 License held by M/S Premier Chemical Industry (Pvt), Ltd, Sheikhupura immediately.”

The above said order was issued right after six days on January 6, 2017 due to reasons best known to DG (ET&NC).

Excise department had issued the D-2 License to above said factory to store denatured spirit in huge quantity supposed to be used for industry and medicines manufacturing purpose. Special Excise staff was deputed at the factory to monitor the consumption of the denatured spirit. But in above said case huge quantity of alcohol was allowed to be sold in market with the connivance of Excise staff. Interestingly no action was taken against Excise staff responsible for transportation and sale of the illicit liquor.

Sources in Excise department said that DG Excise has imposed Rs100,000 on distillery management that submitted a request for waiving penalty amount.

When contacted, ET&NC DG Akram Ashraf Gondal said since police have exonerated the management in their investigation so the department restored.