Fake liquor racket busted with arrest of six in Chandigarh and Zirakpur
The Punjab excise department has busted a fake liquor racket operating in the region with the arrest of its kingpin based in Zirakpur, a Chandigarh contractor and four others.
The accused used to fill liquor of cheap brands in bottles of expensive brands and supply them in and around Chandigarh, said Rajat Agarwal, excise commissioner, and Moneesh Chawla, inspector general (crime), Punjab, during a press conference on Tuesday.
The kingpin has been identified as Jatinder Pal Singh, alias JP, of Zirakpur. He used to procure cheap brands from Ashu Goel, a liquor contractor based in Sector 29, Chandigarh, and empty bottles, caps and packaging of expensive brands from Delhi.
Police have arrested the two besides their four aides: Gurpreet Singh Sidhu, Vijay Kumar and Karan Goswami of Zirakpur and Jatinder Singh (JP’s namesake) of Kurukshetra. Sidhu was allegedly posing as an inspector general of police.
It was deputy commissioner, excise, Patiala zone, Rajpal Singh who received a tip-off that JP would be receiving a consignment of empty bottles, mono cartons and caps of expensive liquor brands on the intervening night of January 4 and 5.
Teams of the Mohali excise and police officials raided the spot and caught JP and his accomplices red-handed while unloading some cartons from a bus with a Haryana number at Zirakpur. They all were arrested.
The team found 80 empty bottles and 55 mono cartons of Johnnie Walker Black Label, 10 empty bottles of Red Label, and 35 lid caps, 30 labels, and 100 unused caps of Chivas Regal in the consignment. The team also seized six cases of Red Label and two cases of Black Label from JP’s car at the spot.
JP allegedly confessed that he stores liquor of cheap brands procured from Ashu Goel at his house in Motia Royal Citi, Zirakpur, and empty bottles, caps and other material at a godown in Jamuna Enclave, also in Zirakpur.
During a raid at JP’s house, 11 filled bottles of Black Label, 12 empty bottles of All Seasons and 12 bottles of 555 Gold were recovered. It was followed by a raid at the house and godown of JP’s aides Jatinder Singh and Vijay Kumar at Jamuna Enclave.
It led to seizure of 54 bottles of Black Label, 12 of Red Label, seven of Royal Salute, 60 of Naina, 12 of Blue Label besides 60 empty bottles of Red Label, 32 of Absolut Vodka, 90 of Glenfiddich with mono cartons, 136 of Black Dog with mono cartons, 20 mono cartons of Blue Label, 136 mono cartons of Red Label, 80 unused caps and 80 empty tin packings of Red Label, and 300 neck lables and 500 unused caps of Chivas Regal. Twenty-five litres of extra neutral alcohol (ENA), the primary raw material for making alcoholic beverages, was also seized.
Meanwhile, teams also raided Ashu Goel’s godown in Sector 29, Chandigarh, where around 1,966 cases of liquor of various brands were found without holograms. The godown was sealed in the presence of the Chandigarh excise and police officials for further investigation.
Punjab officials said that JP used to supply fake liquor in Chandigarh and nearby areas in his car. He also admitted that some smugglers from other states used to come to his house to take deliveries.
A case has been registered under Sections 420 (cheating), 419 (cheating by personation), 170 (personating a public servant), 171 (wearing garb or carrying token used by public servant with fraudulent intent), 328 (causing hurt by means of poison, etc) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code besides under relevant sections of the Punjab Excise Act and Arms Act.