The Election Commission (EC) on Tuesday ordered to stop production and movement of liquor from five distilleries in Punjab till the polling date, February 4. The decision came three days after 1.2 lakh bottles (10,000 boxes) of illicit liquor were seized by a joint team of the EC and the excise and taxation department from two godowns in Bathinda. The other 12 distilleries in the state are also under scanner, said excise officials.
Sources in state office of the EC said a preliminary probe found that the liquor seized in Bathinda was from the five distilleries, four of which are in the Malwa region and one in Gurdaspur. “Excise duty was not paid for the seized liquor, and that might invite heavy penalty,” said sources in the excise department, adding that they are checking labels, holograms and stocks of the bottles seized and matching these with records of the distilleries.
- BCL Distilleries, Bathinda
- United Spirits Limited, Moonak, Sangrur
- Edi Bronson Distilleries, Keedi Afgana, Gurdaspur
- Patiala Distilleries, Main, Patiala
- Pernod Ricard Distilleries, Dera Bassi
Chief electoral officer (CEO), Punjab, VK Singh confirmed the action.
The major focus of the EC is to check distribution of liquor and drugs in the five poll-bound states, including Punjab.
It has already declared a ban on sale of liquor from the evening of February 2 to the end of polling.
Neighbouring Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir and Rajasthan have also been asked to keep liquor vends within three kilometres of the state border closed from 48 hours before the polls.