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Confessions of a former bootlegger

india Updated: Jul 18, 2009 21:45 IST

Hindustan Times
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My auto-servicing repairing business had collapsed and I was in debt. A client who owed me Rs 50,000 was into bootlegging, and got me in. He said he wouldn’t give me the money but crates of booze. I sold the bottles to my friends and made a profit of Rs 2,000. I was in.

You don’t need marketing for this business. If I, as a supplier, have the stuff, customers will come. Some bribe the police every month. I’d pay Rs 50,000 to a lakh only if there was trouble. That’s profitable: pay your way out of trouble, but no fixed hafta expense. The trucks would come with 400 crates to the state’s border. The main guy — distributor — decided where and how the truck would be unloaded, and who’d take the bottles. Twenty guys like me would pick up 20-odd crates each into our cars. The distributor paid Rs 3,000 per crate to the guy sending it from across the border and sell it to me for Rs 3,300. A profit of Rs 300 per crate for him. There would be 20-25 deliveries in a month. So the distributor would make up to Rs 30 lakh a month. Of course, he had to give a lot to the police. I sold each crate at Rs 4,200. I wasn’t a huge operator. I would sell 100 crates per month and make a profit of Rs 90,000.

I was lucky I never got hauled in. It was useful because it gave me starting capital for my current business. I got out once I had that. It’s dirty stuff. I’m a god fearing man. I have a wife and two daughters and my conscience is clear.