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Alcohol meant for medicines diverted to make liquor

By Rituraj Borthakur
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GUWAHATI, June 12 - Skeletons continued to tumble out of the cupboard in the extra neutral alcohol (ENA) excise duty evasion scam as it emerged that the imported ENA was meant for pharmaceutical and cosmetics purposes, but was apparently diverted for manufacturing liquor.

Copies of forged permits handed over to Assam Excise department by Haryana Police bore the name of two firms based in Tinsukia, one is a pharmaceutical company and another deals in cosmetics and both use ENA in their products, though in small quantities. They have licence to import the rectified alcohol (ENA) for medicinal and cosmetics purpose and not to make liquor.

The firms were issued altogether 19 permits since 2009 even as the State Excise department had initiated a move way back in 2014 to cancel the licence of one of the firm�s following various irregularities. But Haryana Police has provided copies of around 59 permits used by the firms to import ENA between April, 2015 and May, 2016. Excise officials here suspect that prior to the period also, many more such consignments must have been imported with similar forged permits which bore �fake� signatures and stamps of the department.

Also, most of the permits issued by the Excise department here were meant for importing ENA from Uttar Pradesh. Only a couple of them pertained to Punjab.

�A firm producing cosmetics or pharmaceutical products does not require so much quantity of rectified alcohol. A permit is issued for around 20,000 to 25,000 bulk litres of ENA,� Excise officials told The Assam Tribune.

Meanwhile, the State Excise Department has written to the Excise Commissioner of Punjab seeking the total quantity and other details of the rectified alcohol issued by a particular supplier in Patiala to the two firms in Assam since 2008.

The scam had come to light after an unidentified person lodged a forgery case with Haryana Police against the Patiala based supplier. A team from Haryana Police had last week visited the State in connection with the probe and had furnished copies of the permits recovered from the premises of the supplier to the State Excise department for verification. The permits were found to be forged.

Today, a team from Hatigaon police also went to the Excise department and obtained copies of various documents. A Deputy Commissioner of Excise had filed a signature forgery case at Hatigaon police station. The forged permits purportedly bore the signature of the Deputy Commissioner.

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Alcohol meant for medicines diverted to make liquor

GUWAHATI, June 12 - Skeletons continued to tumble out of the cupboard in the extra neutral alcohol (ENA) excise duty evasion scam as it emerged that the imported ENA was meant for pharmaceutical and cosmetics purposes, but was apparently diverted for manufacturing liquor.

Copies of forged permits handed over to Assam Excise department by Haryana Police bore the name of two firms based in Tinsukia, one is a pharmaceutical company and another deals in cosmetics and both use ENA in their products, though in small quantities. They have licence to import the rectified alcohol (ENA) for medicinal and cosmetics purpose and not to make liquor.

The firms were issued altogether 19 permits since 2009 even as the State Excise department had initiated a move way back in 2014 to cancel the licence of one of the firm�s following various irregularities. But Haryana Police has provided copies of around 59 permits used by the firms to import ENA between April, 2015 and May, 2016. Excise officials here suspect that prior to the period also, many more such consignments must have been imported with similar forged permits which bore �fake� signatures and stamps of the department.

Also, most of the permits issued by the Excise department here were meant for importing ENA from Uttar Pradesh. Only a couple of them pertained to Punjab.

�A firm producing cosmetics or pharmaceutical products does not require so much quantity of rectified alcohol. A permit is issued for around 20,000 to 25,000 bulk litres of ENA,� Excise officials told The Assam Tribune.

Meanwhile, the State Excise Department has written to the Excise Commissioner of Punjab seeking the total quantity and other details of the rectified alcohol issued by a particular supplier in Patiala to the two firms in Assam since 2008.

The scam had come to light after an unidentified person lodged a forgery case with Haryana Police against the Patiala based supplier. A team from Haryana Police had last week visited the State in connection with the probe and had furnished copies of the permits recovered from the premises of the supplier to the State Excise department for verification. The permits were found to be forged.

Today, a team from Hatigaon police also went to the Excise department and obtained copies of various documents. A Deputy Commissioner of Excise had filed a signature forgery case at Hatigaon police station. The forged permits purportedly bore the signature of the Deputy Commissioner.

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