SAD blames Bathinda local traders for spurt in smuggling of liquor | punjab$bhatinda | Hindustan Times
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SAD blames Bathinda local traders for spurt in smuggling of liquor

Compared to 841 litres of illegal liquor recovered in March, 2,575 litres have been recovered in April in Bathinda district

punjab Updated: Apr 28, 2017 12:05 IST
Sachin Sharma
As many as 72 persons have been arrested and 2,575 litre of illegal liquor recovered in April.
As many as 72 persons have been arrested and 2,575 litre of illegal liquor recovered in April. (HT Photo)

With the district witnessing a rise in liquor smuggling, liquor baron and former Shiromani Akali Dal MLA Deep Malhotra has alleged that a few local traders having interests in Haryana liquor business are into smuggling.

There has been a rise in the number of cases registered under the Excise Act as well as illegal liquor recovered in April as compared to March.

Compared to 32 cases registered under the Excise Act in March with 841 liters (1,121 bottles which mainly consists of Punjab Medium Liquor) recovered, a total of 71 cases have been registered in Bathinda till April 26 with 72 persons being arrested and 2,575 liters (3,433 bottles) recovered.

Police and excise officials claim that a major part of the recovery of illegal liquor in April belongs to the supply from Haryana. Excise and taxation officer Vikramdev Thakur said, “Rise in smuggling from Haryana is due to liquor being cheaper there as compared to Punjab. Smugglers sell liquor at price cheaper than in Bathinda. Our department is working with the police to check smuggling.”

A considerable part of the liquor business in Bathinda has been allotted through auction of liquor vends to the firms belonging to Malhotra’s family members. He said, “People from Bathinda who have interests in liquor business in Haryana are behind the rise in smuggling here as they want to disturb our business.”

He, however, added that the Punjab government has expressed commitment to stop liquor smuggling. “If state government doesn’t put a check on liquor smuggling, it will not only hurt our business but also affect revenue of Punjab government,” he said.

Malhotra had earlier met Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal in Bathinda on April 7, urging him to put a check on sale of illegal sale of liquor. Manpreet, after meeting Malhotra, had said liquor traders in Bathinda suffered losses in last financial year due to previous SAD-BJP government patronising the liquor smugglers.

Interestingly, some of the liquor traders of the city who earlier owed allegiance to SAD, have now switched to Congress.