A squad of cops was exhilarated when they raided a Gorai hotel and seized material used to make and transport hooch. Their happiness, however, was short-lived when they learnt that the material had been stored not by a nefarious gang of hooch peddlers but the Excise department, who had seized it months earlier from hooch units.

Police said they didn’t know the material had been kept there by the Excise department
Police said they didn’t know the material had been kept there by the Excise department

Led by Assistant Commissioner of Police Sudhakar Pujari, the Borivli-based MHB police raided Bay View hotel in Gorai at 11 am yesterday, on a tip-off that illegal hooch-related activities were conducted in the hotel. The cops seized hooch mixers, rubber tubes, and boats that were used to transport illicit booze by sea.

The items were found behind the hotel, but well within its compound walls. No officer was keeping watch over it, and the material had been kept in a place that is also accessible by sea. Soon, the Excise department got word of the raid and came to the spot. They told the MHB police it was they who had kept the items.

According to Excise officials, the contraband had been seized in multiple raids over the last three months, in different areas of Gorai. Abhijeet Deshmukh, senior inspector, Excise, claimed they are facing severe shortage of space to store seized goods. “Two months ago, we raided a place in Gorai and seized hooch mixers and some rubber tubes, and also arrested two people.

One month back, we seized a boat from the area that was used to transport hooch by sea. We have storage issues at our office in Malwani. Due to lack of storage space, we have had to keep such material on the road, for which the Traffic department has also fined us many a time. We are keeping all the material at risk.” ACP Sudhakar Pujari said, “We raided the hotel on a tip-off.

We didn’t know that the Excise department had kept the material there. We have made a station diary entry and conducted a panchnama, and are verifying the facts with the Excise department. We are also investigating why these goods were kept in such an open spot inside the compound, without any security personnel guarding it.” MHB Police did, however, manage to register a case against an illegal bakery running on the hotel premises.