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From selling liquor to milk,Delhi’s 50 bootleggers start afresh

Resident and market welfare associations of south Delhi’s Sangam Vihar felicitated 50 alleged former bootleggers on Wednesday who had last week surrendered to the police and made a promise not to sell illicit liquor.

delhi Updated: Aug 16, 2018 03:33 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi,Delhi news,Liquor
Around 50 alleged Sangam Vihar bootleggers surrendered to police and made a promise not to sell illicit liquor last week.(HT File Photo)

Resident and market welfare associations of south Delhi’s Sangam Vihar felicitated 50 alleged former bootleggers on Wednesday who had last week surrendered to the police and made a promise not to sell illicit liquor.

The area residents also promised to find them new jobs and help them with the legal fee in their old cases.

Last week, a number of families, that sold illicit liquor in Sangam Vihar, had pasted placards outside their homes urging residents not to knock at their door and ask for alcohol. A notice on the house of Sangam Vihar resident Heera Devi(43) read — ‘You won’t get alcohol here. Only milk is sold here now. Please do not ask for alcohol.’ Other residents, similarly, have reportedly turned to selling vegetables in the area.

On August 1, HT had reported about the families who had given up selling illicit liquor. Last week, the local market welfare associations approached police, and told them that they wanted to present flowers and sweets to bootleggers who had quit selling liquor.

Residents said the illicit liquor mafia in Sangam Vihar was the source of a number of problems. Most gangsters of south Delhi, such as Raju Ramakant Rao alias Raju Baba, are known to have a history of being indulged in the illicit liquor business. It has also led to several gang wars. Rao was murdered in August 2015, by his rivals.

Locals said the liquor mafia has also taken advantage of the fact that for about 16 lakh Sangam Vihar residents, there was not a single licensed liquor shop in the area. “Around 90% of the residents in Sangam Vihar are poor or hail from the working class. They are mostly migrants with odd jobs. Not everyone can afford to buy liquor from licensed shops so they depend on cheap illicit liquor made in homes by residents. The local residents also earn money this way,” said Panna Lal, 74, who has lived in the area for over two decades.

Vinay Gupta, president of D block Market Welfare Association, said illicit liquor sale was the source of many a law and order problems. “Till last year, drunkards would roam the streets till 2-3 in the morning and harass residents. Women in the area also felt unsafe. They had complained to the market association many times. After police launched a crackdown on illicit liquor sellers, the problems have stopped. In my market area there were two women, who sold liquor. We thanked them for deciding to give up their business and handed flowers to them today. We will help them find jobs and offer all other possible help,” Gupta said.

Station house officer of Sangam Vihar, Upender Singh, said over the past year, there has been a massive crackdown on the liquor mafia. “We have arrested at least 42 persons under the excise act and seized around 6,000 bottles so far. Not just criminals but children of the area were also coming under the influence of the mafia. Most local criminals are those who started consuming illicit liquor at an early age. They were tired of being under the police radar and chose to surrender. We will also help them in their reform.”

First Published: Aug 16, 2018 03:33 IST