The haul of countrymade liquor seized in Goraya town late Saturday was part of the 22-truck consignment meant to be distributed in Goraya town and its surrounding areas ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, police claimed on Sunday.
As many as 10 trucks loaded with illicit liquor were seized by the police. Of the remaining 12 trucks, seven slipped out of other routes while five were not yet loaded, the police added.
Of the impounded vehicles, three trucks were stationed near a Dhaba near Goraya on the Jalandhar-Phagwara highway while seven trucks were parked at the Goraya grain market.
The quantity was so large that the counting of liquor boxes that started Saturday night was still underway. It is expected to be completed in two days.
A police official said they got a tip-off that illicit liquor was being supplied in trucks from a licensed store on 120-Foot Road.
He said the police laid a trap near Chachori village near Goraya and recovered the liquor from the trucks. The liquor was supposed to be delivered in surrounding villages ahead of elections.
Liquor is used to lure voters and such an incident in the runup to the polls is not a new thing, the official further said.
The police said flying squads and static surveillance teams among others have been formed to ensure free and fair elections in the district. Despite this, he added, people were smuggling liquor.
The police have arrested 10 person s, identifieda s Dharminder of Boota village, Ashwani Kumar of Kishanpura, Gurnam Singh of Model House, Kulwinder of Shaheed Babu Labh Singh Nagar, Ajaib Singh of Sarabha Nagar in Ludhiana, Balkar Singh of Naugaja village in Kapurthala, Amarjit Singh of Kagniwal village and Gurbax Singh of Sunder Nagar in the city.
Excise and taxation officer (ETO) Sukhwinder Singh said excise inspectors were still busy counting liquor boxes till Sunday evening.
Singh said, “The liquor was loaded in trucks from a licenced store on 120-Foot Road. It is illegal since unloading was not done at liquor vends and it was stored in trucks.”
Superintendent of police (D) HPS Khakh said trucks had been impounded by Goraya police. Police officials and excise inspectors were still busy counting the stock, he added.
A case had been registered against the accused under sections 61, 1 and 14 of the Excise Act, the SP said. More sections will be added if the police get more information during investigation, he informed.
When asked if liquor was to be supplied for election, he refused comment on this. the seizure was one of biggest so far, he claimed.
The Lambra police had also recovered 72 boxes of liquor during a naka on March 14 and arrested three persons in this connection.