Chashing an illicit liquor trail that started with the discovery of a person on a scooter carrying alcohol without a permit, officials of the state excise department made a round trip that ended outside their own office. They raided the place and learnt that a liquor smuggler was clandestinely operating there.
The officers found that the smuggler had made cavities under the staircase and under a table in his room to hide the liquor.
The accused used to procure empty bottles of international liquor brands from five-star hotels and then fill them with low-quality liquor, said the officials.
On Thursday evening R S Narsale, a state excise officer, got a tip-off that a person was carrying some liquor in his scooter.
The police tailed the person and intercepted him after a while. They found he was carrying Glenfiddich 12 Year Old, Glenlivet, J&B Scotch whisky and Gordon London’s dry gin — there were seven bottles in all.
Superintendent of State Excise Department for Mumbai R S Parmar, said, “When we questioned the person, identified as Sajjid Nair, he told us he was given the consignment by one Ashok Tyrewala to be dropped at his office in Bootwala building opposite Old Custom House, Fort.”
When the excise officials raided the place at Bootwala building, on the ground floor they were surprised to find various brands of international liquor worth lakhs of rupees and Indian made foreign Liquor (IMFL). The excise officials also found a bottle sealing machine and a mixing machine.
“The accused used to mix Indian-made liquor in imported liquor bottles and then distribute it in the city,” said Narsale.
The excise officials seized 13 bottles of Bagpiper whisky, 15 bottles of Glenlivet and other international brands, 58 other bottles and three imported wine bottles.
The excise officials also seized 43 IMFL bottles.
“What surprised us was that the accused, Tyrewala, had made cavities in stair cases, beams of his building, the dining table, and also kept liquor in his water tank,” said Parmar.
The excise department seized liquor worth Rs 4.66 lakh liquor from Tyrewala, who is wanted in the case, and Rs 2.37 lakh in cash.
The excise officials said Tyrewala used to mix Bagpiper in Chivas Regal, Johnnie Walker, Double Black Label, Teachers, Absolut vodka and Blue Label.