Fireworks packaged as gifts, sweets enter Delhi
Suspects created special cavities in cars, scooters and used milk canisters to sneak in the contraband into Delhi
With police cracking down on the sale of polluting firecrackers following the blanket ban in Delhi, the makers of such firecrackers are using innovative ways to smuggle them into Delhi and sell them at steep rates clandestinely.
At least 20 people have been arrested for allegedly smuggling polluting firecrackers into the national capital ahead of Diwali, police said.
Some of these suspects created special cavities in their cars, scooters and even used milk canisters to sneak in the contraband into Delhi, police said on Friday.
Deputy superintendent of police (DSP), CM’s flying squad, Inderjeet Yadav said that teams in plainclothes have been deployed in wholesale markets and borders. “We have identified places based on human intelligence and have been checking suspected vehicles. Also, we are keeping close watch on the places selling banned fireworks,” he said.
“There are manufacturing units in Jhajjar, Nuh and Sohna, which are producing firecrackers. Some licence holders are also involved in illegal manufacturing to make a quick buck during this season and have received huge orders from Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad,” he said.
Last year, the shopkeepers were providing pick-and-drop facilities to customers. But after the ban, they have come up with a new modus operandi and are sending gift packs of firecrackers since police do not open gift packs. This new mode has proved successful, they said.
HT visited a few shops on the outskirts of the city and found that shopkeepers who stocked traditional firecrackers have pasted stickers on them to make them look like the green variety.
Amit Yadav, a shopkeeper in Gadoli, said sending fireworks as gift packs was his idea and others followed him.
“I have sent over 500 consignments a day for the past one week. We have hired a company that is dealing in delivering gifts and they are supplying all our consignments to Delhi, Sonipat, Panipar, Noida and Ghaziabad. Only traditional crackers are in demand. Green crackers are sold, but the craze for the old ones is still high,” he said.
Rahul Saini, another shopkeeper said they had sent crackers in sweet packets and cartons. “A majority of buyers are from Delhi and they have bought fireworks in huge quantities. This time sky shots were in demand,” he said.
Police have recovered over 500 boxes (15 different brands) of prohibited firecrackers from Gurugram areas such as Badhshapur, DLF Phase 3, Sector 10, Sector and Sadar area. The items included rockets, bombs, flower pots and sparklers. They also recovered large quantities of stickers of green crackers from the suspects, said police.
HT had reported earlier that hubs in the periphery of Gurugram began sales as early as August to circumvent the ban that is usually imposed around the month of October, when the festival season begins.
It is estimated that over 10,000 kilograms of polluting fireworks have already been smuggled to Delhi, said police.
Vijay Pratap Singh, deputy commissioner of police (crime), said during questioning, the suspect told them they had procured the firecrackers from several dealers and was selling them at higher rates to earn a profit.
“He is one of the leading wholesalers in the district and had employed 15 people for the festive season. He displayed green crackers in the main shop and sold polluting firecrackers on the sly,” he said.
They said shops in Gadoli, Farrukhnagar and Manesar that deliver firecrackers to the doorstep in Delhi, have devised new ways to dodge the police.
They have now started ferrying the banned items in school vans and vehicles carrying daily essentials, to evade police searches.
In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled against a complete ban on firecrackers, and allowed the sale of less polluting green crackers through licensed traders.
Nishant Kumar Yadav, deputy commissioner, Gurugram, said the sale and use of all kinds of firecrackers, except green crackers, are banned in the district and strict action will be taken against those violating the orders.
“We had imposed restrictions under Section 144 CrPC, PC Under 1973, Explosives Act of 1884, and Explosives Rules, on September 28. There is a ban on the manufacture, sale, use of all types of firecrackers, except green firecrackers, between November 1 and January 31, 2024,” he said.
Cases under Section 9B of the Explosives Act 1884 and Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code were registered against suspects at Sector 10A, Sector 50, DLF Phase 3, Badhsahpur and Sohna, said police.