LAHORE: Despite the orders of Director General Excise, Taxation and Narcotics Control Department Punjab Dr. Asif Jalil, the First Inquiry Report (FIR) could not be registered against the Excise & Taxation Officer (ETO) and Avari hotel’s vend shop staff over their alleged involvement in illegal actities.
According to the details, on 16 November 2022, the ET&NC Director Region D Nauman Khalid inspected the Vend Shop of Avari Hotel Lahore and in his report, he identified in writing such irregularities in the permit room of the vend shop which fell under the offense under the Prohibition (Enforcement of Hadd) Order & Rules, 1979.
Later, as no action was taken by the Director Region D, the DG ET&NC warned him on Dec 03, 2022 in writing and directed to register an FIR against those responsible.
“You were directed to obtain the explanation of Excise and Taxation Officer (Excise-II) Lahore and furnish the same alongwith your comments within three days positively. However, you have not responded to this very critical issue. The nature of illegalities reported by you in the inspection report warrant criminal proceedings, whereas it seems that you are intentionally not pursuing the case. You, in your capacity as Collector under Punjab Excise Act, 1914 is hereby directed to lodge an FIR under Prohibition (Enforcement of Hadd) Order and Rules, 1979 against Excise and Taxation Officer (Excise-II), Lahore and permit room staff of the licensee who are directly responsible for this criminal act. Further necessary action to be taken and compliance report to be submitted within 3 days,” the letter reads.
However, when no action was taken despite the written orders of the DG ET&NC, the DG also issued a show cause notice to the Director Region D on December 15 and sought a clarification.
Interestingly, despite the show-cause notice, the director Region D did not lodge any FIR against the responsible parties. However, on December 20th, by the orders of DG ET&NC, the ETO (Excise-II) was changed and Safeer Abbas Jappa was appointed as new ETO in his place.
In this regard, several attempts were made to know the position of DG ET&NC and Director Region D but they could not be contacted.
On the other hand, the sources in the department termed the orders of DG ET&NC as a big step against the alleged interference of an old and dismissed ETO of ET&NC, Masood Bashir Waraich, in the vend shops.
Sources claimed that despite the dismissal, Waraich was considered to have full hold on the vend shops in Lahore and Rawalpindi and there was an impression that not a single bottle of liquor could be sold to a Muslim or a non-permit holder without Waraich’s consent.
However, sources also claimed that Waraich’s influence behind the non-registration of an FIR cannot be ignored.