C’garh fuelling ‘dry’ Gujarat’s poll hangovers

Alcohol

If the amount of liquor being seized is an indication, Chandigarh seems to be giving Gujarat a high this poll season. Over the past few days alone, sources said that the Punjab Police have seized around 3,500 boxes of liquor (each box has 12 bottles) that were being smuggled out of Chandigarh for Rajasthan and Gujarat.

Rajpura seems to have become the favoured transit point for smugglers with the Rajpura police having had some of the biggest seizures. They recently confiscated 400 cases of liquor being smuggled to Rajasthan and Gujarat while another 460 boxes of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), meant for the Rajasthan-Gujarat border, was intercepted last week.

Police officials say that with Gujarat being a dry state, demand for alcohol has increased during the Assembly elections. "The liquor mafia picks up consignment from Chandigarh and is responsible for its delivery to Udaipur. From there, the Gujarat mafia shifts this liquor in small vehicles to the state. Initial investigations have revealed that there has been increased demand due to the Assembly elections in Gujarat and liquor cartels are working overtime and making huge profits. A farmer in Gujarat gets around Rs 10,000 for just allowing the liquor to be hidden on his farm for a few days, from where it is shifted in cars," an officer said.

The official added that in one recent seizure, around 100 cases of wine and 20 cases of IMFL were confiscated from a Mahindra pick-up vehicle that was bound for Gujarat. "The vehicle was modified to hide the cases and the driver was from Gujarat," he said. Sources said that during interrogation, the accused revealed that trucks were being modified to smuggle the liquor: a compartment is built behind the driver's seat to store over 500 cases of alcohol while the boot area is filled with fruits and vegetables to hoodwink the law.

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