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Illegal liquor unit unearthed in Patiala

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Patiala, October 31: The district police on Tuesday unearthed an illegal liquor unit being run from a farmhouse at Dedhna village of Ghagga, near here. They seized a huge quantity of Punjab Medium Liquor (PML) and holograms of the state Excise Department.

The unit is allegedly owned by a close relative of an AAP leader, who is also a retired IAS officer of Punjab cadre.

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Patiala SSP Mandeep Singh Sidhu said: “We have seized 91 boxes containing 1,092 bottles of ‘Asli Mota Santra Gold’, 9,800 empty liquor bottles, fake stickers and seal caps bearing the name of Chadha Sugar Industry Pvt Ltd, Unit II, Kiri Afghana, and plastic drums used for storing chemicals.” He said the recovery of holograms pointed out that the illicit liquor might have been sold at authorised vends in the state.

Sources said this was the first time that the police recovered holograms that were “solely procured and used by the Excise Department”. The department spends crores of rupees to procure these holograms.

“We have arrested Ragbir Singh, owner of the 5-acre farm, while his son Amrik Singh, who runs the illegal trade, managed to flee. Amrik is facing six cases pertaining to kidnap, robbery and drugs. Amrik’s brother Avtar Singh is a proclaimed offender in the Jagdish Bhola drug case,” the SSP said, adding that a case under Sections 420 (cheating), 272 (adulteration of food or drink intended for sale), 465 (forgery) IPC and various sections of the Excise Act had been registered.

Police sources said the accused were related to a former IAS officer, who had served as the Patiala DC and joined AAP post retirement. “We will verify if the former bureaucrat has any role in the trade,” they said. When contacted, the former bureaucrat rejected the charge.

The police said some stickers of IMFL had also been recovered, which indicated that India-made scotch was also bottled at the site. “A vehicle loaded with illicit liquor was dispatched from here early on Tuesday morning before the raid. A detailed investigation is needed to unearth the details,” an official said.

He said: “The accused used to prepare a bottle of liquor for as little as Rs 30 and sell the same for over Rs 200 after pasting excise holograms on branded bottles.”

Source Tribune India



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