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Crackdown on bootlegging

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ILLICIT LIQUOR: Police personnel unearthing a barrel, buried near a waterbody in Malaymbakkam near Mangadu on the city's western outskirts.
ILLICIT LIQUOR: Police personnel unearthing a barrel, buried near a waterbody in Malaymbakkam near Mangadu on the city's western outskirts.

The recent war launched by police against illicit liquor is aimed at improving the image of the police and instilling confidence in people, says P. Oppili

Bootleggers in the city and its suburbs were on the run last week, following the crackdown by the police.

Initiated by the Greater Chennai Police Commissioner, Letika Saran the crackdown focussed on rowdyism and bootlegging.

During the elections, the law enforcers were busy ensuring that the polls went off peacefully. As a result, they were unable to concentrate on routine and more conventional police work.

The current raids have a dual purpose. First they will instil confidence in the minds of people and secondly they will also help the police to improve their image with the people, says a senior officer.

Available data with the police show that in the past week more than 125 cases were booked against bootleggers and over 150 persons arrested.

More than 2,000 litres of illicitly distilled arrack, 85 barrels of fermented wash and 2,000 litres of fermented rice (popularly known as sondi soru in coastal areas of the city) were seized and destroyed by the police, besides 9,000 arrack sachets, smuggled into the city from Karnataka.

The police also seized five vehicles used for transporting illicitly distilled arrack (IDA) and rectified spirit.

Why the sudden prohibition raids? A senior officer said illicit distillation bred rowdyism, marring the reputation of the law-enforcers.

People generally believed that prohibition offences took place only with the connivance of the local police.

The raids sought to remove such a notion among the public. Controlling prohibition related offences would help in bringing down offences such as robberies, thefts, and to some extent road accidents, the officer said.

S.R. Jangid, Additional Commissioner of Police, said: "We have decided to make the city totally free of prohibition offences, which include both the illicit distillation as well as the sale of the illicitly distilled arrack. We have identified about 40 places in the suburbs, where the raids will be conducted for a week continuously. With the raids we plan to totally eradicate distillation and sale of illicit liquor in a within a week," he said. Another officer said in some of the areas the women were selling illicit liquor and the police arrested them too.

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