In run-up to New Year, bootleggers use fake Army permits to smuggle liquor into Bihar
Excise teams intercepted a truck laden with 260 cartons of Haryana-manufactured whiskey on a highway near Gopalganj on Wednesday evening. It was being transported on a fake Central Stores Depot permit.patna Updated: Dec 28, 2017 23:03 IST
PATNA When excise teams intercepted a truck laden with 260 cartons of Haryana-manufactured whiskey on a highway near Gopalganj on Wednesday evening, they initially thought it was just another seizure out of many in a state where bootleggers now run amok. It was, however, the Central Stores Depot (CSD) permit being used to transport the contraband that piqued their interest.
The CSD permit, a licence granted only to the armed forces and a few select groups, was found to be fake. The truck driver and cleaner could not be questioned because they managed to escape in the confusion.
This was the second instance of liquor smugglers using fake CSD permits to smuggle liquor into the state over the last few months. In this case, the document was made out in the name of Danapur Cantonment.
“There were 260 cartons of Imperial Blue and Royal Stag whiskey in the truck,” Gopalganj excise superintendent Priya Ranjan told HT. “When we tried to stop him, the driver flashed a CSD permit purportedly issued by a high-ranking Army officer at us. He claimed the liquor was being transported from Ambala to Danapur Cantonment.”
It was while the excise officers were trying to contact the Army authorities at Danapur that the driver and cleaner made their escape. The permit had reportedly been tampered with.
Ranjan said his men have recovered at least 700 liquor cartons from five trucks, including a Blue Dart parcel van, in less than a week. While two of the vehicles were destined for Muzaffarpur in time for the New Year celebrations, two others were headed to Patna and Darbhanga. The fifth truck was carrying 30 drums of spirit (5,550 litres) – an important ingredient in the manufacture of country liquor – on an ethyl acetate licence. Excise officials booked one Vijay Kumar Choudhary in this connection.
Excise officials said bootleggers buy bottles of Royal Stag whiskey at a wholesale price of Rs 150 each from Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, and then sell the same product at rates as high as Rs 1,100 in dry Bihar. Additional director general (headquarters) Sanjiv Kumar Singhal said 498 cartons of liquor were seized from Siwan, 450 from Sheikhpura, 372 from Saran, 115 from Nawada and 50 from Ara in a pre-New Year drive during the last two days.
“As the illegal liquor trade is carried out very clandestinely, we find it hard to track or intercept consignments in the absence of a tipoff. Bootleggers use every mode of transport at their disposal – including trains, buses, boats and even personal cars – to bring liquor into the state,” an excise official said.
This was the second instance of liquor smugglers using fake CSD permits to smuggle liquor into the state over the last few months. In this case, the fake permit was made out in the name of the Danapur Cantonment
Seizure of illegal liquor has become a regular occurrence since Bihar went dry in 2016.