Staff Reporter

Misuse of green channel

150 truckloads of spirit smuggled through Walayar

Mafia has strong connections in neighbouring States

PALAKKAD: The special investigation team of the police arrested 11 persons, including three kingpins of the inter-State spirit smuggling mafia, who were smuggling spirit through the green channel of the Walayar inter-State check post since August last year.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, District Superintendent of Police Vijay Sakhare said nearly 150 truckloads of spirit might have been smuggled using the green channel system given to the public sector Malabar Cements Limited (MCL) to transport cement through Walayar check post.

He said one load would have more than 8,000 litres of spirit costing Rs.35 lakh in the illicit liquor market. The investigation found that the spirit mafia not only used the brass green pass of MCL but also that of another cement company, ACC, to smuggle spirit through the green channel system.

The mafia had strong links in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra where they had set up godowns to store the spirit for smuggling into Kerala. There were some powerful persons involved in these States. The investigation would try to book them too, Mr. Sakhare said.

All these matters were being inquired by chief of the special team Rishiraj Singh.

The matter came into open when the excise officials apprehended a lorry with 8,540 litres of spirit at Walayar on January 24, 2008. The spirit was concealed below 20 bags of Chettinad cement.

Mr. Sakhare said Rafeeq, son of Kabeer, Kattil Peedika, Kodunthirappilly, Palakkad, who was an agent of spirit mafia and one who deals in the sale and purchase of cement, got in touch with Aneesu Rahman, the authorised dealer of Malabar Cements for Kasaragod. Rafeeq, Aneesu and Expert Line Transportation Agency entered into an agreement for sale of cement meant for Kasaragod in Palakkad itself. This arrangement was used for smuggling spirit to Kerala from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka by concealing spirit in cement lorries.

He said there were 17 accused persons in this case, but only 11 were arrested so far.