As many as 171 bottles of duty-free premium foreign liquor worth Rs 18 lakh, procured illegally from airport shops, were seized and three people arrested in the case in Hyderabad Thursday.
According to the police, the three would get the bottles from duty-free liquor shops at Hyderabad and Chennai airports, and sell them outside for almost 120 per cent profit.
The arrested persons include an employee and an ex-employee of a liquor shop at the Hyderabad airport.
Telangana Prohibition and Excise department officials recovered one-litre bottles of brands like Chivas Regal, Blue Label, Royal Salute, Black Label, Gold Label and Glenmorgan from the accused.
According to officials, the racket was busted after they raided the office of a travel agent near Hyderabad railway station, and seized 12 bottles of Chivas Regal whiskey and Rs 2 lakh in cash from one T Venkatesh (55). Venkatesh had been supplying foreign liquor to party orders and some regular customers.
The office belonged to a relative of Venkatesh.
Upon questioning, Venkatesh told the officials his stock was sent by one Doraisingam in Chennai. The Excise police recovered 106 more bottles from his home.
Later, based on his inputs, they raided the home of one Khaled at Hafeezpet and seized another 49 bottles. Khaled works at a duty-free shop in Hyderabad airport. From the house of an ex-employee of the same shop, one Anil, another four bottles were seized.
During investigation, the officials found that Doraisingam along with an accomplice Phanendrababu, alias Babu of Tanuku, supplied foreign liquor from duty-free shops in Chennai to Venkatesh. Both Doraisingam and Phanendrababu are residents of Chennai.
Officials said Venkatesh also collects foreign liquor from those who smuggle electronic goods from Malaysia, with the help of duty-free shop employees.
“Venkatesh’s relative runs a travel agency, so he would ensure those going to Malaysia and Thailand bring two bottles of premium liquor for him. These would then be sold to select customers outside for about 120 per cent profit,” C Vivekananda Reddy, deputy commissioner, Prohibition and Excise department told indianexpress.com.
Venkatesh was earlier arrested in a similar offense in Rangareddy four to five months ago. Further investigation is on. The role of customers is also under investigation.
Earlier in May 2017, two customs officials of Hyderabad airport were arrested after an organised racked comprising Customs & Central Excise and Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (RGIA) officials came to light. The accused would use scanned copies of passports from unsuspecting air passengers returning from abroad to buy expensive liquor brands and sell them outside for profit.
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