Excise sleuths go after the bottle and the box

In a bid to put an end to bootleggers refilling branded liquor bottles with spurious liquor, the Maharashtra State Excise Department has decided to take tough steps to ensure that such practices are nipped in the bud.

Whiskey bottle
Representation pic

The flying squad of the excise department has written to various liquor manufacturing companies asking that they submit details of who manufactures the liquor bottles and packing boxes for their respective brands. The move came after the squad found that not only were bootleggers mixing spurious liquor in original liquor bottles, but they also had access to original liquor boxes.

Subhash Jadhav, an officer of the flying squad, said, “In a few instances, we found that bootleggers were using original bottles and boxes. We are taking no chances and have therefore written to various liquor companies asking them to submit details of who manufactures their liquor bottles and cases, and who their suppliers are. We will keep an eye on the entire chain and investigate where these bottles and cases are coming from.”

Jadhav added that a week ago during a raid, the team found bootleggers refilling spurious alcohol in branded liquor bottles in Nashik. The total cost of material seized was over Rs 8 lakh. “We have arrested three persons in the case, and expect more arrests shortly. It is necessary to know who provides the bootleggers with bottles,” Jadhav said.

State Excise Commissioner Sanjay Mukherjee said that bootlegging needs to be dealt with in sternly. “These bootleggers refill illegal liquor in branded bottles and sell them cheap. The original brands cost around Rs 615, but the bootleggers sell spurious alcohol in branded bottles for half the cost. We have decided to get tough with these bootleggers.” Mukherjee added that many bootleggers use fake transport permits to get their spurious consignments into the state. 

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