For all those who are constantly on the lookout for ways of sneaking in that extra bottle of imported liquor, beware! Soon, you'll not only be answerable to Customs officials, but would also be taken to task by the State Excise Department officials.
Recently, a group of excise officials met State Excise Minister Ganesh Naik, appealing him to tighten their vigil at the international airport.
A senior excise official, requesting anonymity, revealed that smuggling and selling of imported liquor at Sahar airport has been on the rise. He further added that, once the liquor is smuggled in, the bottle is emptied, refilled with adulterated liquor and sold into the market as original Black Label or Chivas Regal. "Hence, to curb this nuisance, we want to strengthen our vigil at the airport so that no bootlegger dares to smuggle under our noses," he said.
A B Ghatol, joint commissioner of Excise department, confirmed that a proposal has been sent to Naik. "We have proposed to increase our vigil outside the airport to avoid smuggling of imported liquor and the proposal is under consideration."
A senior official added, "On several occasions, imported liquor bottles are emptied and filled with adulterated or spurious ones, and are sold at a lower cost. Any tippler would love to purchase imported liquor for less. However, one must understand that every bottle bought for less need not be genuine. Hence, we have decided to crack the whip once the ministry gives us a go ahead. However, the only issue will be reining in the bigwigs, as it will be a tedious job."
No of liquor bottles that can be purchased on a single passport from the duty free shops
In April, a wheelchair-bound 58-year-old man was arrested by the Customs officials at the international airport for trying to smuggle in 45 high-end watches and six bottles of Black Label, worth Rs 7 lakh.