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Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Sale of spurious foreign liquor on the rise

  Chennai and Mumbai are fast becoming ‘hubs' for spurious foreign liquor, going by the arrest of seven gangs involved in smuggling liquor from these cities into the State capital.

With the help of agents from the two cities, the gangs are smuggling spurious foreign liquor through buses or trains. They stuff sealed bottles in carton boxes used for packing electronic goods or surgical equipment and transport them in the name of parcel services.

After receiving the load, they hide it in safe places and fix the price depending upon the brand, ranging from Rs.1,500 to Rs.15,000, say officials.

“The gang members sell liquor to known customers. The bottles are delivered to customers only after verifying their details,” says Excise Assistant Commissioner (Enforcement) A.V.V. Satyanarayana Murthy.

For the past 18 months, Prohibition and Excise officials have busted seven such rackets, arresting 18 people. Over 935 spurious liquor bottles of 80 brands - from 60 ml to five litre bottles, were seized till now. Three cars, a bus and nine two-wheelers were also confiscated. Officials explain it's difficult to detect whether the bottle is original or duplicate as the lid, label and packaging would be similar to the original one.

In a recent raid, Excise officials nabbed four persons for allegedly selling spurious foreign liquor.

Surya Prakash Jaiswal, Narayan Vadwani, M. Narayana Reddy and Ch. Subash were getting bottles from an agent Ramaswamy at Burma Bazaar in Chennai.

The gang transported 150 liquor bottles through bus and hide them in a house at Mothinagar and sold them for Rs.8,800 each.

The kingpin, Jai Kishan of Ameerpet, is still at large. Some gangs were also smuggling liquor from Mumbai in a similar fashion, officials confirm.

Mr. Murthy cautions people against consuming spurious liquor, as it would cause health complications. They should buy genuine foreign liquor from custom notified shops or licensed outlets, which procure stock from the Andhra Pradesh Beverages Corporation Limited, he adds.

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