Delhi bans Vat 69 and Smirnoff for two years

Popular liquor brands VAT 69 and Smirnoff will not be available in Delhi for two years, as the Delhi government’s financial commissioner has blacklisted the manufacturer United Spirits Limited (USL). It has been reported that the company had violated the Excise rules of Delhi as they used unauthorised and loose barcodes.

“I am of the view that the appellant violated provisions of the Delhi Excise Act, 2009, Delhi Excise Rules, 2010, the terms and conditions of the licence issued to it and the standard operating procedure framed by the Delhi Excise Department and that consequently the department has rightly imposed the penalty of blacklisting under Rule 70 of the Delhi Excise Rules, 2010 upon United Spirits LTD (USL), Aurangabad,” the financial commissioner said in his order.

USL is subsidiary of British multinational alcoholic beverages company Diageo, which makes the Scotch blended whisky Vat 69 and Smirnoff vodka.

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To ensure safety and tax compliance, the Delhi government had directed all alcohol sellers to sell liquor through scanning only. And this requires that proper bar codes are affixed on the packages of the products.

Originally the ban was imposed for three years in May 2017, but USL had challenged the order in the court of Delhi financial commissioner. The court upheld the ban and said that the ban will continue for the remaining two years. The commissioner has said that it has been established that unauthorised barcodes were used and also the existence of loose barcodes has been established. The order also said that loose barcodes can be easily misused and that can cause danger to public health.

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