Illegal distillery busted in Ajnala, 3 women among 8 held with 110 tonne lahan, 1,780 litre liquor
An illicit liquor manufacturing unit was unearthed by the state excise department at Khiala Kalan village in Amritsar district’s Ajnala sub-division in the wee hours of Monday and nearly 110 tonnes of lahan (raw material used for making liquor) and 1,780 litre liquor were recovered from the site.
Eight persons, including three women, were arrested, excise department officials said.
Besides lahan and liquor, six stills, 62 drums of 200 litre each, 6 LPG cylinders, 31 plastic cans of 100 litre each, 2 water tanks of 500 litre capacity, 2 plastic drums of 50 litre each, 11 plastic cans of 35 litre each and tarpaulins were seized by an excise department team with the help of the police.
The incident comes nearly eight months after the state’s worst-ever hooch tragedy claimed more than 130 lives in Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur districts last year.
Those arrested were identified as Kuldeep Singh, Satnam Singh, Ravinder Singh, Dharamvir Singh, Harjindersingh, Savinder Kaur, Preeti, Simranjit Kaur, all Khiala Kalan residents.
The officials said modern methods of distillation were being used by the bootleggers to produce liquor. Branded yeast, permanent pipeline plumbing systems, and RCC pools were being used for large-scale production of illicit liquor, they said.
Deputy commissioner (excise) Jaspinder Singh said, “We have identified six more accused who are absconding. Raids are on to nab them. It is not clear yet as since when this illicit unit was being operated in the village. During the remand of the accused, we will find out whom they were supplying the liquor.”
Another excise department official said, “Once we got a tip-off about the illicit liquor manufacturing, a joint raiding party of the excise department, excise police and the Amritsar police was formed. A recce of the area was conducted first. The village was cordoned off during the raid. At least 25 houses were searched and the recoveries were made from 7 houses.”
Those involved in the illicit business were supplying the illicit liquor to various villages of Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur districts, he claimed.
Hundreds of people were arrested and huge caches of illicit liquor were recovered in the three districts in the wake of the last year’s hooch tragedy.