Tribune News Service
Patiala, August 3
Dhabas alongside highways, godowns and residential premises in villages are allegedly used to commerce, retailer, provide and manufacture spurious liquor.
Monthly bribes to policemen, botched up investigations and deliberate efforts “not to recover cash” or seize property of smugglers in circumstances registered below the Excise Act allegedly assist this commerce flourish.
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The latest deaths in Punjab as a result of consumption of spurious liquor have as soon as once more delivered to gentle how further impartial alcohol (ENA) or ethanol transported from distilleries to color and pharmaceutical items and different factories is intentionally allowed to be smuggled.
“In Ghanaur and Rajpura areas, distilleries and truckers hold the key, courtesy political patronage. Truck drivers are not paid any salary, with a basic understanding between truckers and owners that they will pilfer one drum of ENA per round,” stated a liquor contractor. “The driver will then tie up with some dhaba owners or smugglers, who will pay him Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 per drum,” stated a police officer.
Smugglers typically retailer the ENA so procured in godowns, homes and roadside dhabas from the place they provide it to each nook and nook of the state.
“Illegal distillery owners buy ENA from smugglers, use it to make fake brands and then sell these to pocket huge profits. For every round of chemicals exchanging hands, cops and excise officials get their cut,” stated an insider.
“In connivance with the ENA mafia and distillery owners, liquor worth Rs 700 crore was manufactured and sold during the lockdown in Punjab. Despite high demand, it was the only state where no queues were witnessed at liquor vends when these opened after almost three months, as supply of illegal liquor had never been interrupted,” stated a prime ED official.
“Recently, when accused in the illegal Ghanaur distillery case were grilled, they named many senior police officers who were allegedly paid monthly bribe. But that fact was never made part of the investigation report,” sources stated.
Principal Secretary (Excise and Taxation) A Venu Prasad, in the meantime, stated their division had already launched a particular drive to verify ENA pilferage and use of chemical compounds to fabricate spurious liquor.