Excise and police looking for ways to wriggle out of liquor syndicate cases

With the Prohibition and Excise, Police and the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) officials, involved neck deep into liquor syndicate cases are finding ways to get out of them, the unauthorised liquor trade (belt shops) was thriving in villages in Krishna district.

The State Government has suspended three excise officials after the Methanol Tragedy in Mylavaram and Reddygudem mandals in which 19 people died in the district last month. Again the Government transferred two top officials – Excise Deputy Commissioner S. Arvinder Singh and Assistant Excise Commissioner (Enforcement) Y.B. Bhaskar Rao -- a few days ago.

Even as the excise officials could come out of the shock, the ACB raids on liquor syndicate offices was giving jitters to the excise sleuths. Though no arrests have been made in the district, the ACB raids were also haunting the police officials too. In a petition submitted to the court (a copy of the petition available with The Hindu), the ACB police (Vijayawada Range) without mentioning the names stated that the liquor syndicates collected amount from the liquor shops and bar owners in Guntur and distributed the money to Excise and Police officials and others.

Belt shops

On the other hand, noose was being also tightened around the necks of ACB sleuths who conducted raids, and some investigation officers were facing allegations of ‘leaking information' with ‘vested interests'.

The ACB officials surrendered two staffers to their parental department on charges of ‘poor investigation', according to reports.

Reports said that more than 3,000 belt shops were running in the district and many new shops have come up in hotels, tea stalls, cool drink and pan shops and in houses in rural areas in the last few days. “After the ACB probe on liquor ‘mamools', the excise police have stopped raids in villages and the belt shop owners are making good business. A belt shop owner who used to make Rs.1,000 sales a day is making nearly Rs.2,000 sales now'', said a woman Ramanamma of Nandigama.

“The liquor shop owners are on a run to evade the ACB raids and the business has almost come down for the last one month in towns and cities. But, in villages the sales were good during the last few days'', said a belt shop owner of Kankipadu.

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