BAREILLY: Ahead of Bihar assembly election, at least 18,600 bottles of smuggled liquor worth Rs 50 lakh, “billed as medicine”, were seized from a container truck in Uttar Pradesh. The Bihar-bound truck was coming from Punjab and its driver said that he was carrying the “medicine” for poll use in the dry state.
The driver was arrested in Kalan area of Shahjahanpur on Thursday night. The bottles of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) were packed in 550 cartons. Papers he had on him said he was carrying “medicine”.
Identified as Chetanram, the driver is a resident of Barmer district in Rajasthan. He got the “assignment” near the Delhi border in Haryana and was supposed to hand over the truck to another driver in Varanasi district who would take it to its final destination in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district.
Divulging details of the operation, Kalaan SHO Dileep Singh Bhadauria told TOI, “We received information of liquor being smuggled in a container truck. Upon spotting the truck, we found that the container was sealed and the driver had documents of a medicine firm which looked original. After questioning the driver and asking him to put us through to the firm’s manager, he tried to flee. We, then, opened the container and recovered 550 cartons of whisky.”
The driver said that he was offered Rs 30,000 for delivering the consignment. The liquor was supposed to reach Bihar to “impact” the elections, he claimed.
SHO Bhadauria further said, “The kingpin is yet to be identified. Our probe suggests the role of a professional gang. They even prepared stamps, paid tax and completed almost every paperwork to deceive the people.”
The liquor mafia are coming up with innovative methods of smuggling to Bihar and “we need to be smarter than them”, said Shahjahanpur SSP S Anand.
Bihar goes to polls on October 28, November 3 and 7. The results will be declared on November 10.