Online liquor stores busted in Mumbai; Rs 1,80,000 booty recovered
In a first, the state cracked down on two e-retailers of alcohol and recovered booty worth Rs 1,80,000, and also seized a Santro
In twin busts on online liquor sales, the excise department took the wind out of two e-commerce websites selling alcohol illegally in the city, and recovered liquor worth Rs 1.8 lakh.
The excise flying squad with some of the seized liquor in Sakinaka. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
The first raid materialised following a complaint by the Wine Shop Association. Acting on the tip-off, excise officials posed as a customer and ordered liquor from letsbuydrink.com. After getting a confirmation mail of the order, they set up the delivery for Thursday.
The deliveryman was called to Athena Bar in Colaba with the liquor, and the officials were cautious to seal the roads to restrict his escape. Pradeep Pawar, deputy commissioner (inspections), told mid-day, “Investigation has found that the website has 30 such outlets in Mumbai that deliver alcohol to customers. We are getting details of every shop, as they all are part of the crime.”
He added, “The online sale or advertisement of liquor is a crime under section 24 of the Bombay Prohibition Act, 1949. One needs to have a registered and licensed shop for sale of liquor. Four people are in custody and further investigation is in process.”
Amol Parve, manager of Silver Coin wine shop that delivered for the site along with Living Liquids, the deliveryman Pramod Upadhyay (28), and two other persons, Shweta Upadhyay (25) and Pankaj Pandey (24), were arrested on Thursday. Liquor worth Rs 65,000 along with a Santro car was seized from them, making the total recovery worth Rs 2,16,229. The search for the owner and the other accused in on.
In a bust executed similarly in Sakinaka yesterday, 30 bottles of imported wine worth Rs 1,15,000 were seized after a decoy order was placed on thewinekart.com. The site has its offices and godown in Sakinaka, where officials went under to “pick up the order”, and nabbed three accused.
“In this case, the website and the owner operated from Mumbai. These people are selling booze at much cheaper rates, which may either be duplicate, or procured from Goa or Daman, which is also illegal,” DCP Pawar said.
Winekart owner Vishal Kadakia (45), manager Kunal Janthiya (30) and Gurprasad Mahadeshwar (35) were arrested. The excise team included Inspector Mahesh Bojjawar and sub-inspector Qaiyyam Momin, along with other constables led by excise commissioner Sanjay Mukherjee.
Mammoth booze haul worth Rs 2.3 cr
On Wednesday, the state excise department caught a liquor consignment worth R2,31,64,000 from Aurangabad, when it was on its way to Gujarat. The truck and container were found to have fake documents that showed links to Goregaon.
The drivers of the two vehicles, namely, Jab Mahindar Fateh Singh (55) from Punjab and Somraj Prakash Chand (38) from Haryana, were taken in custody.
Prasad Surve, director of excise department, said, “It is one of the biggest seizures in the history of the department. There are various possibilities that are being checked. Three teams were involved in the case. The drivers coming from Haryana will remain in the custody till June 7.”
The liquor brands included Royal Stag, Signature Green Label, Blender’s Pride, Aristocrat, Magic Moment vodka and Blue Tower lime whiskey. Officials said the key racketeers are Dilip Marwadi (Nadiad, Gujarat) and Vinod Sindi (Anand, Gujarat)