In run-up to polls, police seize liquor worth Rs 3 crore

Liquor

Long before Gujarat came under the watch of the Election Commission, the state police had set about busting bootlegging rackets, allegedly being run from Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Bootleggers are often suspected to be working under the political patronage of local leaders who want to woo voters in villages with such liquor.

Special anti-liquor drives had been launched in July-August this year. Of seizures worth Rs 4.48 crore made by the DGP's vigilance squad over the last one year, the last few months before the polls account for Rs 3 crore. The 74 cases over the year include 30 high-profile ones between July and December.

The static surveillance squad of the Election Commission, meanwhile, has registered two major liquor seizure cases after 2.17 lakh litres of IMFL and 13.61 lakh litres of country-made liquor were seized on separate occasions.

Over and above the cases involving the DGP's squad, the Gujarat Police have lodged around 1.24 lakh liquor seizure cases over the last one year, over 91,000 of these involving country-made liquor and the rest involving IMFL.

"The police squad has been on its toes for the last one year," DGP Chitranjan Singh said. "There is a watch on the borders and no consignment has been able to reach its destination."

In 2009, a hooch tragedy had killed 136 people in Ahmedabad. It led to breweries in villages being shut but IMFL dens have since begun to flourish in rural Gujarat.

In October and November, South Gujarat saw seizure of IMFL consignments that police say had come from Maharashtra. Some of the recent seizures by the DGP's squad:

Ahmedabad: Methyl alcohol worth

Rs 1.82 lakh was seized this month from a shut factory at Naroda, which was being used as a store. This chemical was being stored reportedly for making hooch for villages and urban localities. Earlier, the DG's squad had busted five country-made liquor rackets in Ahmedabad, seizing truckloads meant to be delivered inside the city. These were reportedly brought from Rajasthan.

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