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4,000 litre raw liquor seized from Akali leader’s tubewell storehouse in Patiala

Former block samiti member arrested, joint investigation by police, excise department
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Vishal Rambani, Patiala
PUBLISHED ON MAY 19, 2020 11:47 PM IST

Nearly 4,000 litre extra-neutral alcohol (ENA), a raw material used for making liquor, was seized from a storehouse at the tubewell of a Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader at Pabri village in Patiala district on Monday night.

Darshan Singh, who remained SAD’s block samiti member from 2013 to 2018, was arrested after the recovery, police officials said.

Patiala senior superintendent of police (SSP) Mandeep Singh Sidhu said, “Acting on a tip off, a police team raided the tubewell storehouse and found neutral ethanol that was kept in 20 drums.”

An excise department official was also called to the spot, the SSP said, adding that a case was registered in this regard and an investigation was on.

“Of the seized ENA, nearly 7,000 litre liquor can be made. The accused has been in illicit liquor business for the last five years,” an official said.

The excise and taxation department has started investigation into pilferage of ENA, which is used by the mafia to make illicit liquor. “We have taken the accused on remand and will probe from where he procured ENA. Directions have been issued to all DSPs and station house officers (SHOs) that they will be held personally liable if anyone was found selling illicit liquor in their area,” said the SSP.

Congress MLA Madan Lal Jalalpur said that recovery of raw liquor material shows that SAD leaders are involved in liquor trade in the area.

“A bottling plant found by police was also being run by some BJP leaders whom I will expose in the coming days. The role of excise officials should also be probed as liquor is being smuggled on a large scale through the Punjab-Haryana border,” he said.

Admitting that sarpanch Amrik Singh, who was booked in the bottling plant case, was close to him, Jalalpur claimed to have no knowledge of his illegal activities.

Earlier, the SAD had demanded a probe against local Congress leaders in the bottling plant case.

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