The much debated app launched by the Kerala government for online booking of liquor, beer and wine for customers has now come under scrutiny by the Kerala High Court after a petition was filed on Tuesday.
An IT firm approached the high court stating that the selection process was not fair when the BevQ app was selected to deliver a token for all those wanting to purchase liquor, beer and wine when the retail sales started on May 28.
The court while accepting the petition asked notices to be served to the Kerala government, Start-Up Mission which did the selection, the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) – the sole wholesaler of liquor, beer and wine.
The court also noted that the selection of the company -Faircode Technologies was done by a contract staff attached to the state owned Start-Up Mission.
It also asked the authorities to see that the video of the selection process done through Zoom should not be deleted and be produced before the court.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala had first raised the issue that the entire selection process was a stage managed one and it was given to a company which did not have the credentials for it, but still got it, because it belonged to a close aide of the ruling CPI-M.
“It was me who first raised this and it has now been proved it was a faulty selection,” said Chennithala.
According to the rules, all those who book their liquor on their mobile phones will get a token and get their orders fulfilled from 1,168 liquor vends in the state from 9 a.m to 5 p.m everyday.
A person who has booked once from one mobile number can make his next booking from the same number only five days later.
Liquor vends include 301 retail liquor shops belonging to the state-run Bevco and Consumerfed besides 576 bars and 291 wine and beer shops.
There was widespread criticism after the app went live that many who booked their favourite drink were directed to a bar and not to the shops owned by Bevco or Consumerfed.
As a result, the sales of these two state-owned units saw a drop and their share dropped as low as 50 per cent below normal.