Bootleggers smuggle cheap alcohol from neighbouring states to sell at Mumbai's X'mas and New Year's

Excise officials seized illegal liquor being smuggled into the city in a luxury bus on Saturday. The bus (MH-27 A-9822) was carrying liquor bottles worth Rs 18 lakh under the passenger seats. Bottles of Royal Stag, Mc Dowells and Signature whiskey, and Goan port wine and brandy were recovered.

Excise officials seized illegal liquor worth  Rs 18 lakh being smuggled
into the city in a luxury bus on Saturday. pic/Vijay Bate

On December 22, MiD DAY had carried a report (Bringing in liquor from Goa on a bus?) that stated that excise officials were on the lookout for liquor being smuggled into the city from Goa and Daman and Diu, where alcohol is cheaper.

"The liquor was brought from Goa and hidden under the passenger seats. It was likely to be sold in the market on Christmas and New Year's Eve. The driver fled the scene when we raided the bus," said NM Mudiraj, superintendent (suburbs), State Excise Department.

"With Goan liquor available at half the rate, bootleggers are selling liquor bought from the state at a profit in Mumbai. We had laid a trap in few luxury buses plying between Goa and Mumbai. We request citizens to buy alcohol from government-licensed wine shops, as illegal liquor entering the state may be spurious," Mudiraj added.

Excise Department officials are also tracking the liquor being sold in defence canteens. They recently asked defence personnel to tighten their vigil over canteens, after duty free liquor meant for defence personnel was found in the market in the first week of December, when an excise department raid seized 312 bottles of liquor worth Rs 8 lakh in a vehicle in Thane. According to sources, excise officials called defence personnel to identify if the liquor was from the Canteen Store Department (CSD).

"Soon after the liquor was seized in Thane, we approached defence officials to find out how a bulk purchase of 312 bottles of liquor was made," a senior official at the excise department told Sunday MiD DAY.
Two men, including an ex-serviceman Shivaji Dhaigude were arrested.