Bootlegging in the time of Delhi elections

November 25th, 2008 - 10:21 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 25 (IANS) Liquor smuggling cases have risen by 400 percent in the last one week in the capital, police say. No, there’s no new Al Capone in town. Just that assembly elections are around the corner. The Delhi excise department has registered over 1,500 bootlegging cases this month. The liquor was being brought illegally from neighbouring states, especially from Haryana, to be distributed among the voters here.

“Generally, during elections the sale of liquor shoots up as it is distributed to woo voters. In the past three days itself, we have seized around 300 cases of liquor and eight vehicles,” a senior officer in the Delhi excise department told IANS.

The department has formed nine special teams to keep an eye on the illegal influx of liquor from bordering areas before the Nov 29 Delhi elections.

According to the official, illicit liquor is being pumped in from states bordering the national capital. The main areas include Najafgarh and Kapashera in southwest Delhi, Badarpur in south Delhi and the Faridabad and Gurgaon borders. All these areas are next to Haryana.

“The smuggled liquor is primarily being supplied to slum areas and unauthorised colonies that account for one-third of Delhi’s population, as there is a restriction on giving a licence for opening liquor shops in these areas,” the officer said.

With dry days being announced from Nov 27 to 29, the excise department says people have started stocking liquor.

“There is a large increase in the smuggling of liquor before dry days. Due to elections, liquor shops in the capital will remain shut for three days so there is a possibility of more illicit liquor being brought to Delhi in the next three to four days,” the officer said.

“We have increased checking and patrolling in the bordering areas. Our teams are working with Delhi Police to check the influx of liquor from other states,” the officer said.

Delhi Excise Commissioner R.M. Pillai has also written to the Haryana authorities to be on alert during the election period.

“We have asked the Haryana government to keep a strict vigil on liquor being supplied illegally,” the officer said.

Delhi Police’s public relations officer Rajan Bhagat said, “We have increased surveillance along border areas. Several people have been arrested for smuggling liquor.”

Campaigning in the Delhi elections to 70 seats will end Nov 27.

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