The Girgaum Magistrate court on Friday granted bail to a woman who was detained by the State Excise Department for not possessing alcohol permit required by chocolate manufacturers.
Preeti Chandrayani (53),was on Thursday detained for possessing around 20 bottles of alcohol without permit.
She was let off against a provisional cash bail of Rs 15,000. Chandrani,however,insisted that it was her hobby and not a business.
She was arrested under the Bombay Prohibition Act norms that requires a person to possess a licence for liquor beyond permissible limits and for manufacturing products,which use intoxicants.
While Chandrayani has pleaded that the chocolates were for self-consumption,and a cultivated hobby,excise officials claim to have booked her on the basis of menu cards and tariff rates recovered from her premises.
A total of 20 liquor bottles of assorted variety were seized,for which as per law requires a person to possess a licence. A licence is for Rs 1,000 and gives access to possession of two units of liquor.
So rigid was the crackdown,that the team even walked away with the chocolate recipe booklets.
While many tweets have surfaced slamming the raids and calling it yet another regressive step,excise department officials maintain that they have gone by the book.
“We found the quantity of liquor at her home in excess of the prescribed limit and we had information that she was using the liquor for making chocolates. The law states that a licence is needed for anything,which is above 750 ml in case of foreign liquor and anything above 2,600 ml for wine. The excess liquor was being used to make chocolates,which also comes in the category of intoxicants,said Mohan Wardhe,superintendent of excise,Mumbai city.
The rule also states that along with excise,for any commercial business one needs to have a health certificate from Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation,a permission licence from Food and Drug Administration and licence from State Excise department. She was selling on orders and that is the information we had. We have booked her for possession of liquor,which was used for commercial purpose under relevant sections of the Bombay Prohibition Act.
The excise department claims to have seized chocolates with scotch and other whiskeys as bases weighing over five kgs.
We will not be going behind people who make chocolates at home. As long as you make items,which has less than two per cent liquor and not make a commercial venture you can be assured. It is only when the limits are mis used and excise duty not paid that the department will take action, Wardhe said.