IN ONE of the biggest night-long operations against bootleggers all over the City, the excise department arrested 10 persons, including a woman, from various points and seized 4,840 quarter bottles of country-made liquor worth around Rs 1.5 lakh.
The officials also seized three Maruti cars, two motorcycles and one scooter in which the liquor was being carried. Such was the daring of the bootleggers that they were carrying the liquor bottles stuffed in sacks, which were then placed on the seats of the Maruti cars and were being carted from one point to another.
Though all the cars had tinted glasses, they were easily visible once the windows were opened. Says assistant district excise officer R K Jain, “The customers of these suppliers are fixed. They just drop the sacks at the designated places and scoot.
It hardly takes them half an hour to make a delivery.” For those carrying the liquor on two-wheelers, the pillion rider clutches on to the sack filled with bottles while the driver speeds his way along the streets.
“We had been getting information about the bootlegging and started posting our men at various points from 7 pm, and the operation continued till 6 am. Throughout the night, we caught these people carrying liquor,” said Jain, adding that most of those caught were habitual offenders and would spend around two months in jail. The department was also scrutinising the past records of those arrested.
The lone woman, Ganga Bai, was caught with 1,600 bottles. She is a habitual offender and she had hidden the bottles inside her house at Luniapura. Rakesh alias Ravi was caught with 800 bottles being carried in a Maruti car (MP-23-B-9470) at the Vikram Tower Crossing.
Mukesh and Sanjay were caught with 800 bottles at Vijay Nagar crossing being carried in Maruti car ((MP-09-W-7287). Sandeep alias Raku was caught with 800 quarter bottles in a Maruti car (MP-09-HA-8923) near Bombay Hospital. Jitu and Mohan were caught with 40 bottles being carried on a motorcycle (MP-09-JD-5079) from Vijay Nagar crossing, Ramesh and Rakesh were caught with 300 bottles on a motorcycle (MP-09-J-5083) near Satya Sai Vidya Vihar and Vishi Rath was caught with 300 bottles on a scooter (MP-09-8842) at GNT Market.
The operation of the excise department comes after a long gap and as the department official themselves admit, bootlegging is spread all over the City – be it Luniapura, Banganga, Musakheri or Chandan Nagar. All the seized vehicles would be auctioned in due course of time. The excise department officials are trying to find out to whom the liquor was being supplied and from whom they had purchased it.