For every one rupee charged in excess of the maximum retail price on liquor bottles, the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (Tasmac) will impose a penalty of ₹1,000 plus GST on its sales staff.
This was informed to a petitioner A.S.B. Vignesh of Villupuram, who sought to know under the Right to Information (RTI) Act why [a section of] salespersons were charging ₹5, ₹10 and ₹20 above the fixed retail price on quarter (180 ml), half (360 ml) and full (720 ml) liquor bottles respectively and ₹10 for beer bottles. He wanted to know whether the employees at the State-owned liquor outlets were authorised to charge more than the fixed retail price and if so where the excess money was going.
The Public Information Officer informed the petitioner that selling liquor above the price fixed by the State government was not permitted and any violations were being viewed seriously. While sharing the contact details of the officials who could be contacted for lodging complaints in such cases, the PIO said a penalty of ₹1,000 for every ₹1 charged extra plus GST will be levied on the salesperson.
For instance, if ₹10 was charged extra, a fine of ₹10,900 would be imposed on the official responsible, who would have to deposit the same in Tasmac’s bank account and then face disciplinary action.
Responding to other queries, the public authority said firm action was being taken on illegal bars and sale of liquor in black. The flying squad of Tasmac and special teams of Excise and Enforcement were deployed to check violations and take appropriate action.
In recent weeks, unaccounted cash was seized in Tasmac outlets during searches by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption.
For instance, between October 1 and December 14, 2020, DVAC teams seized unaccounted cash of ₹3.05 lakh from a liquor shop in Nagapattinam, ₹69,180 from an Elite liquor shop in Anna Nagar, Chennai, ₹1.13 lakh from four liquor shops in Cuddalore, ₹60,990 in three liquor shops in Vellore and Pennathur and ₹1.21 lakh from the office of the District Manager, Tasmac, Salem.
On their part, investigators in the agency register a case under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, and refer the proceedings to the Tasmac for action against the suspect staff. Investigators said efforts were on to get the rate card displayed at all liquor outlets to bring about transparency.
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