Imported liquor was recovered from the two SUVs by Kurar police officials near the Western Express Highway. Pic/Shadab Khan

Barely five hours before municipal elections kickstarted across the state, Kurar police officials seized 21 cartons of liquor from two abandoned SUVs in the early hours of Tuesday.

A patrol party spotted the two vehicles near Kurar village, close to the Western Express Highway, around 2 am. "On searching the vehicles we found several bottles of alcohol — including expensive imported liquor. We laid a trap and waited for the drivers or any other person to come forward and claim the cars, but when none arrived, the beat marshals, who found the vehicles, informed senior cops and got them towed to Kurar police station," a police official said.

The seized SUVs outside Kurar police station

A Kurar police official says it is likely that the alcohol would have been used to lure voters in the backdrop of the elections. “We did not find any person near abandoned cars, but we suspect the alcohol was being brought into the city to distributed among voters or political party workers. The bottles were packaged in brown cartons and were placed below cartons of plastic water glasses. It reveals meticulous planning to avoid detection. The Excise Department and the election officials were informed and a report of the seized cars and the liquor was filed.

The Excise Department has offered to help cops identify where the liquor had been purchased from, which may give some much-needed clues to the recovery. Cops are trying to nail the vehicle owners, a police official said.