Excise department officials arrested 36 people for illegal consumption of liquor in open spaces on Monday, the first day of the crackdown.
“Ten teams of the excise department fanned across the capital and arrested those found consuming liquor in the open, in cars or on roads. They were also slapped with a fine of Rs 5,000 and later produced before the court,” Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said.
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He said the raids were conducted in largely middle-class areas such as malls and markets, where people come with their families. “We had received complaints. In some places, women and children found it very difficult to go to the markets because of such people,” Sisodia said.
The action was taken under Section 40 of the Delhi Excise Act. Sisodia had announced on October 26 that the government will come down heavily on those found drinking in public spaces November 7 onwards.
According to the excise department records, six people were apprehended from the PVR complex Vikaspuri and handed over to the police. At other locations, up to three people were arrested for drinking in public.
These arrests were made from Karol Bagh, Deshbandhu Gupta Road, Auto Market Zamroodpur, Janakpuri District Centre, Vasant Vihar, PVR complex Vikaspuri, Pitampura, Kushal Cinema Jahangirpuri, near Rajokri flyover, Sabzi Mandi and an underpass in Kasturba Nagar, said Sisodia. “We were aided in this effort by 17 police stations in Delhi,” he added.
The offenders were handed over to the police at night and produced before a magistrate.
“Our intention is not to pick up people drinking in the open and send them to jail. But remember, if you are found drinking, you will be arrested, you may have to spend the night at the police station and face court proceedings. It is better to clean up your act,” Sisodia said.
He said his teams of excise officers had established a strong network and received live inputs of cases of consumption of alcohol in public places.
Sisodia said he had written to the Delhi High Court on Tuesday, urging it to provide mobile magistrates for the drive. This, he said, will enable issuing of challans to offenders on the spot.