Naga minister's son, car part of liquor haul

Jorhat, Jan. 17: A Nagaland minister's son was among nine persons arrested today on Dhodar Ali at Deberapar under Mariani police station in Jorhat district with a consignment of India-made foreign liquor that was being ferried in six vehicles.

The liquor, worth over Rs 5 lakh, was reportedly being taken to poll-bound Nagaland, which is a dry state.

Police sources said one of the vehicles, a Tata Aria (NL-10 7923), belonged to Nagaland public health engineering minister N.K. Longkumer. His son, Tushi K. Longkumer, was allegedly using the official vehicle that even had "Minister Nagaland" inscribed on a plate.

Sources said four (three Tata DIs and one Bolero) of the five other vehicles had Assam registrations, while a Maruti Gypsy was registered in Nagaland ' NL-02 C 6081. The vehicles were carrying different IMFL brands reportedly purchased here and were heading to Mokokchung using Dhodar Ali to enter Nagaland through Naginijan along the inter-state boundary.

Of the nine persons arrested, five are from Nagaland and the rest from Assam.

The police team, while checking the vehicles at the Deberapar police outpost, found that the people ferrying the liquor neither had excise permits nor any kind of documents relating to the consignment, which, according to sources, comprised of 4,796 bottles of rum, 578 bottles of Kingfisher beer, 244 bottles of Blenders Pride whisky, 21 bottles of Royal Stag whisky and 24 bottles of Red Label whisky.

Sources said a case (number 9/13) had been registered at the Mariani police station in this connection.

Confirming that the minister's son, who was using his father's official vehicle, was among those arrested, Jorhat superintendent of police Sanjukta Parasor told The Telegraph that a case had been registered under Sections 171 (C) and 188 IPC, both of which are bailable.

Parasor said the code of conduct for panchayat polls in Assam, which was in force now, had been violated and an official government vehicle was also misused. She said the excise department was conducting its own probe into the incident, as excise laws, too, had been violated.

Jorhat superintendent of excise L.N. Baruah said their Titabar office was probing the matter and a case under relevant sections of excise laws would be filed at the judicial court.

Baruah said liquor stocks could not be lifted from a bonded warehouse without obtaining necessary permits from the excise department. He said action would be initiated against the warehouse from which the consignment was lifted, as it appears that it had violated the law.