New Delhi, April 9 (IANS) During the 21-day nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19), cases of liquor smuggling and bootlegging across the country also saw a spike. Police and excise officials across the country arrested several people and seized the liquor from the bootleggers.
In Delhi, the police arrested 18 people involved in bootlegging from several areas between March 24 and April 8.
The Delhi Police also suspended one of its assistant sub inspectors for being involved in bootlegging, a senior Delhi Police official said.
In neighbouring Ghaziabad, the Uttar Police arrested 14 people for selling liquor. The police has seized few tempos and bikes involved in the bootlegging.
In Maharashtra, from March 25 till March 31, the administration registered over 1,200 offences related to liquor sell and bootlegging.
According to officials, more than 35 vehicles seized and around 500 booked for offences of transporting liquor illegally during lockdown with total seizure amounting to over Rs 3 crore (including liquor and vehicles).
The state government has stopped issuing of all liquor vending licences till the time lockdown is lifted.
No liquor shops or restaurants or airports or five-star hotels, etc are selling liquor in the state.
Similarly in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, both the states have reported sporadic incidents of sale of liquor during the lockdown period.
According to the state police, in some cases, the owners of the liquor shops were found violating the rules.
In Hyderanagar area in Hyderabad, police raided a liquor outlet that was operating illegally during the lockdown. The police arrested the owner of the shop and over 100 liquor bottles were seized.
Meanwhile, people also broke into liquor shop and stole liquor bottles worth Rs 26,000 in Gandhi Nagar area of Hyderabad. The wine shop owner complained to police that the offender drilled a hole and committed the burglary.
Similarly, excise department booked three cases of illegal sale of gudumba or illicit liquor in the Dhoolpet area of Hyderabad.
Meanwhile in Telangana’s Mahabubnagar district, police seized alcohol worth Rs 31,000 and arrested three persons for procuring the alcohol from Goa.
In Telangana’s Khammam town, police seized liquor bottles worth Rs 3 lakh and took a wine shop owner into custody for illegally selling the liquor.
People in other parts of Khammam and Bhadradri-Kothagudem districts complained that some wine shop owners are illegally selling the liquor bottles for three times more than the maximum retail price and even transporting it to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.
In Andhra Pradesh police seized liquor bottles worth Rs 40,000 and a car from two persons transporting it from Bhadrachalam town of Telangana to Andhra Pradesh.
In Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur, police seized 2,370 bottles concealed in milk cans. In Anantapur district, police arrested three people for illegally transporting 240 bottles of liquor from Bengaluru by hiding it in a truck carrying tomatoes.
Similarly, police in Tamil Nadu also received complaints of selling of liquor from several parts of the state.
The police arrested 6 persons for breaking into state-owned Tasmac liquor shops in Tiruvallur district. The police also arrested three Tasmac employees were arrested for trying sell liquor in Madurai.
Following the 21-day day nationwide lockdown, the state governments have announced to close the liquor shops.
In Uttarakhand, however, no cases of liquor smuggling or sale was reported. Director General of Police S R Mardy told IANS, “No people have been arrested for selling liquor in the state during the lockdown period.”
Himachal Pradesh Additional Director General of Police Law and Order Ashok Kumar told IANS that the police arrested over 80 people for selling liquor in the state.