The next time you’re at the liquor shop, keep an eye out for excise officials. They’re keeping an eye out for unusually large orders, in a rather innovative attempt to prevent politicians from using alcohol to win over voters ahead of the October 13 state election.
The officers have also been ordered to crack down on illegal liquor dens and smuggling — counterfeit liquor coming in from other states is much more affordable and might therefore be popular as election-time giveaways, officials fear.
Twenty-one teams have been formed, one for each Assembly segment in Pune district.
Acting on orders from the Excise Director (Enforcement and Vigilance), the teams will submit daily reports to the returning officer — the official responsible for overseeing elections in a particular area.
“The department knows more or less how much any liquor shop or permit room sells every day,” said Excise Superintendent (Pune) Vijay Chinchalkar. “Abnormally high sales will be reported immediately.”
The teams have already begun cracking down on illicit dens. “The squads have registered 169 offences in connection with the manufacture, transport and sale of illicit liquor,” Chinchalkar said.