Hyderabad: Liquor outlets will once again be able to pick up stocks as the High Court on Wednesday permitted sales of liquor from Telangana Beverages Corporation Ltd (TSBCL) depots. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta and Justice P.V. Sanjay Kumar granted an interim stay on the attachment notice served by the Income Tax department on TSBCL depots. The bench was dealing with a plea moved by the TSBCL as a lunch motion challenging the attachment notice.
Advocate-general of Telangana K. Ramakrishna Reddy submitted that the TSBCL was not an assessor and no notice had been served to it. He said that the income-tax department had served the notice to the Andhra Pradesh Beverages Corporation seeking tax dues of Rs 1,468.63 crore for the financial years of 2012-13 and 2013-14 when the TSBCL was not in existence. Despite this, the income-tax authorities had stopped sales from TSBCL depots.
Addressing counsel representing the income-tax department over stopping liquor sales, Justice Kalyan Sengupta said, “If the sales are stopped, how will the I-T department get its tax due? Let them sell. Only then can the department collect the tax.” While granting interim stay on the notices served by the I-T wing, the bench directed the TSBCL to supply the list of stocks available in depots to the I-T and then sell the stocks while remitting the money into a separate account after deducting expenditure. The bench also directed the corporation to submit all sale proceedings before the court by next Tuesday to take an appropriate decision on the issue.
Meanwhile, The seizure of liquor depots by the I-T department resulted in black marketing in Telangana. The I-T department sealed 17 depots in Telangana and six in AP to recover arrears amounting to Rs 9,000 crore that were accrued during the last 10 years, from 2005 to 2015. The impact was felt more in GHMC limits where the consumption is more when compared to other districts.
The depots were sealed on Monday and Tuesday and by Monday evening most liquor shops had run out of stock forcing dealers to get stocks from neighbouring districts and sell them two to three times higher than the MRP. The police has prohibited sale of liquor from 6 pm on Wednesday to 6 am on Friday, for Holi on Thursday. As stocks of prominent liquor brands got exhausted, beer sales shot up.
Normally, the demand for liquor is higher ahead of Holi as the police imposes ban on sale of liquor for 36 hours and people stock up liquor to beat the ban. The police has prohibited sale of liquor from 6 pm on Wednesday to 6 am on Friday, for Holi on Thursday. There was huge demand for liquor on Wednesday, which was exploited by dealers who sold liquor in black for exorbitant rates. Popular brands such as Teachers, Black Dog, Royal Challenge, Officer's Choice, Peter Scot etc. were sold at much higher prices.
"With the High Court granting interim stay on the I-T notices, the supplies will be restored by Friday. The shops cannot lift stocks due to police restrictions on account of Holi on Wednesday and Thursday. The situation will return to normalcy by Saturday," said Mr B. Venkateshwar Rao, general secretary, Wine Dealers' Association.
Tags: it department