In the biggest crackdown on liquor smuggling in the state this year, excise department officials have found that tribal homes in North Maharashtra’s Dhule were being used as conduits to smuggle hard liquor.
The state excise department on Wednesday evening seized a huge cache of smuggled spirits and Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) during raids conducted in Dhule’s Zende Anjan village.
According to Excise Superintendent Dr Manohar Anchule, who led the vigilance operations, the department seized 172 drums containing nearly 40,000 litres of duty-evaded rectified spirits and blend that was allegedly be used to manufacture illicit liquor.
Acting on a tip-off, the department’s flying squad searched some tribal properties in the village. Besides the drums containing spirits, the squad has also seized over 9,960 bottles of various whisky brands, which were allegedly being smuggled to other states.
Dhule, which is connected by road to Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Arunachal, Haryana, and Chandigarh, is seen as a transit point for smuggling liquor.
While the total stash recovered during the raid was valued at Rs 1.56 crore, the excise department’s Enforcement and Vigilance Director Sunil Chavan said the impact on the loss of revenue would run deeper.
The 40,000 litres of spirit, when mixed with water and essence, can make 70,000 litres of liquor.
Of the stash recovered, a couple of consignments of IMFL was smuggled from Madhya Pradesh and Goa, whereas the remaining two were manufactured in Chandigarh and were meant for sale in Arunachal Pradesh.
Three criminals cases were lodged following the raid.