Selling ENA in guise of sanitiser: No action against Himachal Pradesh firm

Selling ENA in guise of sanitiser: No action against Himachal Pradesh firm

2022-05-20 23:35:25

Tribune News Service

Ambika Sharma

Solan, May 20

Nearly three months after a case of cheating and forgery was registered against Kala Amb-based Dutch Formulations for selling extra neutral alcohol (ENA) in the guise of sanitiser, the police and the State Taxes and Excise Department (STED) have failed to take action against its owner.

Linked to Mandi hooch tragedy

  • Dutch Formulations illegally sold ENA (used in liquor) to bottling plant, but prepared fake bills of sanitiser sale to CMO office and a hospital
  • Illegality detected during scrutiny of bottling plant’s e-way bills
  • The Mandi plant is under the scanner in the spurious liquor tragedy case that claimed 8 lives nearly three months ago

The firm allegedly supplied ENA to Jogindernagar-based Goverdhan Bottling Plant in Mandi district in Himachal Pradesh. The illegality was unearthed during the scrutiny of e-way bills of the bottling plant, which was allegedly found to be involved in the Sundernagar hooch tragedy that had claimed eight lives. The ENA is used in the manufacture of alcohol.

A STED team had detected fake e-way bills pertaining to the sale of sanitiser to the office of Chief Medical Officer (CMO) in Dharamsala and Paprola-based Rajiv Gandhi Ayush Medical College by Dutch Formulations and its sister concern at Ambala. Neither the CMO office nor the Paprola college had ordered any such stock.

An inspection by STED officials at the Dutch Formulations’ premises in Kala Amb on February 4 had found that the firm didn’t even possess a drug licence to undertake manufacturing. There was no stock available either at the company’s site.

Inward supply of Rs 8.06 crore was made by the firm in 2020-21 and 2021-22 while outward sale of Rs 4.77 crore was detected in the same period, reflecting a gap of Rs 3.39 crore that owner Aniketh Jain reportedly failed to explain, said officials. The STED had concluded that in the garb of sanitisers, illegal ENA sale was made to the bottling plant. The FIR was lodged on February 25. Action, however, is awaited against the firm by the police as well as the STED despite both being non-bailable offences.

Sirmaur Additional SP Babita Pal said record pertaining to how much material was purchased and sold had been sought from the STED and their Haryana counterparts for proceeding further.

The STED is yet to recover dues like Input Tax Credit (ITC) and cancel the GSTIN of the firm even after three months. STED spokesperson Himanshu Pawar claimed that the ITC of merely Rs 8 lakh (otherwise running into crores) of one firm was blocked last week while in the other case of its sister concern, “proceedings were underway”.

Yunus, STED Commissioner, said “appropriate action, including blocking of ITC, cancellation of GSTIN and recovery of dues, shall be concluded on the termination of the statutory timelines”. He said the ITC reflected in the firm’s GSTIN had been retained and shall be remitted to the exchequer if so required at the time of recovery of dues. The Dutch Formulations’ owner could not be contacted.

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