16 May 2019
Beverages Corporation (Bevco)is a state-owned liquor sales company. It has some 270 outlets and supplies liquor to 40 sales outlets of Consumer Federation, and private bars. Income from liquor sales is the main source of revenue for the state.
Following complaints received, Vigilance & Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) conducted raids on 62 outlets of Bevco and Kerala State Co-operatives Consumers’ Federation Ltd and found that some liquors were sold at higher than market price. The outlets recorded purchase of large amount of newspaper for wrapping the bottles. The bottles sold were never wrapped.
The most sought-after brands are kept hidden and are later sold at a higher price. The gain is then is shared among all the staff. Jawan branded liquor, which is sold from government distilleries for a lower price are seldom kept in stock as it gives a lower margin.
Surprise raids revealed that cash bills are printed using poor toner and often the printed content is destroyed. When a customer insisted on a receipt, he would be given a bill with the price portion torn off.
In many instances the cash in hand differed from what was shown by cash register.
The fact that the state is the main beneficiary of the liquor sales has increased the liquor consumption rate in Kerala higher than in the other states.
Liquor contractors liberally finance all political parties. Because of this even the opposition does not raise voice against the liquor policy. The prohibition activists and abstention movements are crushed by the stake-holders.