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Excise department on drive to recover 219cr in dues
May, 17th 2014

With the target to recover an outstanding of a whooping Rs 219 crore, the excise department is gearing up for a special three-month recovery campaign against liquor contractors. The campaign will begin from May 15 and strategy has been finalised to exercise all available options, including freezing of accounts, auction of properties and publicizing names in the newspapers. However, in many cases these options are feared to prove ineffective since many defaulters had long ago transferred their properties and assets to their family members hence leaving the department crippled.

The dues of liquor contractors to the state government total Rs 219.83 crore, which is quite an alarming figure. Major outstanding arise from back out tender cases in which the contractors failed to fulfill the contract terms. In many places, cases have been pending since a decade or even longer. The excise department had earlier been scorned by the CAG and Committee for the Public Accounts for the recovery of the dues which have grown into a giant figure now. Hence, to clean up its tarnished image, the excise department has decided to take stern action against the defaulters.

In a letter to the district excise officers (DEOs), the excise commissioner has warned action against those who fail to achieve a minimum 10% of the outstanding dues in their respective region. Cases have been identified for recovery where the demand was created and now cleared from courts, sources said.

In case of non-recovery, the department may resort to available options including attachment of bank accounts, auction of properties and publicizing notices against the defaulters in newspapers, an official said. The DEOs were asked for a detailed strategy for the recovery and action on it during the campaign. In Udaipur district, Rs 398 lakh is the outstanding amount of which a sum of Rs 356 lakh is likely to fall under non-recoverable category and hence to be marked as 'write off' cases.

"Nearly eight cases are pending and we have already asked the government to write off Rs 356 lakh due from six cases since their properties have already been confiscated and there is no way to recover the huge amount," said Santosh Sharma, the district excise officer.

However, the officials have been asked to track whether any of the defaulters have earned immovable or movable assets in subsequent period which could now be claimed. In Udaipur, the oldest case for recovery has been pending since 1994 while the largest sum due is Rs 251 lakh from one Vinod Kumar of Chhoti Sadri who has no property or assets in his possession which can be impounded by the department. The deputy zila pramukh Shyamlal Choudhary is another defaulter against whom dues of Rs 41 lakh are outstanding but since he conducts his business activities in his wife's name, the department remains helpless.

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