Raid heat on five illicit distilleries

Jamshedpur, Feb. 9: A six-member team from the state excise department and 40 constables from the quick reaction team of the district police jointly busted five illicit distilleries at Chotabanki and Kaljhor villages in MGM police station area during a five-hour long raid today.

However, none of the brewers could be arrested. "They escaped as soon they saw the five SUVs. We have lodged cases against unidentified operators at MGM police station," said assistant commissioner of excise, Jamshedpur, Rakesh Kumar.

According to Kumar, the team confiscated around 4,000 litre of manufactured liquor and 20,000kg of mahua seeds, which serve as raw material and are fermented for manufacturing countrymade liquor. The mahua seeds were stored in as many as 200 drums. The raid continued for over five hours covering more than six kilometres.

"This is the biggest seizure in the last few years. The market value of the total seized items is over Rs 15 lakh. The distilleries, situated along the banks of Subernarekha, had the mahua seeds concealed in drums. They had submerged the drums in the river. Fortunately, the water level was low, which helped us in the recovery," said Kumar.

Apart from this, the team also recovered a cash register from one of the distilleries.

"From the register, we found out that one Om Prakash Sahu of Ulidih had received a consignment. We will initiate a case against Sahu on the basis of this evidence," said the assistant commissioner.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Kumar said: "The raids would continue as a part of our effort to streamline bandobasti (auction) of liquor outlets. Outlets manufacturing both Indian-made foreign liquor and countrymade hooch would be auctioned at the district collectorate on March 5."

He also claimed that Jamshedpur was the highest revenue earner in the state. The excise department targets to garner Rs 82.95 crore from the auction in this fiscal.

Ranchi, on the other hand, aims at generating Rs 60 crore. Dhanbad, Bokaro and Hazaribagh hopes to achieve Rs 66 crore, Rs 35 crore and Rs 47 crore, respectively.

According to sources, illicit liquor manufactured within the district are supplied to slum markets in and around the city.