The Anti-Corruption Bureau in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has issued notices to United Spirits, Pernod Ricard and SABMiller in an ongoing probe into retail syndicates.

The probe began after it was found that drinks retailers in the state, India’s largest liquor consumer, were banding together and selling brands both above and below the Maximum Retail Price. According to the agency’s spokesperson, incentives “could include cash discounts or generous gifts such as holiday packages”.

Confirming the move to just-drinks earlier this week, an official of the bureau said: “These companies have been ‘asked for information’ about whether any undue incentives were given to members of the liquor syndicate”.

Under state laws, distillers have to distribute products through the Andhra Pradesh Beverages Corporation Limited (APBCL). Companies are therefore restricted from dealing directly with distributors or agents.

Andhra Pradesh consumes up to 43m cases of liquor annually.

View Larger Map