New Delhi, Oct 18 (PTI) Delhi Police has seized over five lakh bottles of illicit liquor and registered over 4,000 cases in the last nine months, while 4,371 suspected bootleggers have been arrested from the neighbouring states, officials said.
According to a Delhi Police data, 5,17,755 liquor bottles were seized from across 15 police districts between January and September this year.
Out of the total seizure, 4,52,018 bottles were of country-made liquor (CML), 53,366 of Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) and 1,2371 of beer.
As many as 4,371 people have been arrested and 4,044 cases registered under the excise act in this period.
From transporting liquor bottles stashed inside ambulances to hiding them in buses, tempos, e-rickshaw, two-wheelers and trucks, the bootleggers are trying different ways to smuggle liquor into the national capital from other states.
In April, a milkman was arrested for carrying liquor bottles inside milk containers. In another case, police intercepted an ambulance which was illegally transporting 25 cartons of liquor in west Delhi's Chhawla area and arrested two men.
Two men were arrested in May for allegedly smuggling liquor bottles hidden beneath piles of cucumbers in a three-wheeler in Dwarka's Baba Haridas Nagar area. When the cucumbers were removed, 476 bottles of illicit liquor being transported from Haryana were found concealed under the vegetable loads.
According to senior police officers, most of the illicit liquor is being smuggled into Delhi through its neighbouring states, especially from Haryana.
Southeast, South, Dwarka, East and Outer North are among those police districts which share borders with the neighbouring states and have seen a major chunk of recoveries.
So far, the Outer North district of Delhi Police alone has seized 73,250 bottles of liquor and 975 beer bottles. As many as 200 vehicles used for transporting the liquor were seized between January and September this year, according to police.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer North) Gaurav Sharma said 1,932 bottles were seized in May from Swaroop Nagar area wherein illicit liquor was being transported in the garb of vegetables.
In July, a truck was seized with 2,175 bottles hidden behind cartons of utensils from Samaypur Badli area and this month, a Volvo bus was seized from Alipur area after it was found that 6,48 bottles of illicit liquor were hidden in its secret cabin, he said.
'By catching these suppliers, the source of illicit liquor in Haryana has also been identified and a proposal for MCOCA against these is also being initiated. Further, the action is also being taken against the criminals in the catchment areas,' Sharma said.
With the seizure of 40,903 liquor and 946 beer bottles in his district, Deputy Commissioner of Police (South) Atul Kumar Thakur said liquor is being supplied illegally from the neighbouring states. In the south district, it is particularly being supplied from Haryana and this issue has also been raised in inter-state coordination meetings that are held regularly.
'Liquor, which is meant for sale in Haryana only or for sale in defence canteen, is being sold out in the open market in Delhi at much higher rates. Many people try to bring in liquor and sell them in Delhi because of the high demand but through active check on organised crime, we have worked out many such cases and taken action against bootleggers,' he said.
Until September 30, the south district seized 40,903 liquor and 946 beer bottles. A total of 334 people have been arrested in 311 cases registered under the excise act. Meanwhile, 14,642 liquor bottles and 28,297 quarters have been destroyed during this period, according to the data.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southeast) RP Meena said a thorough analysis is being done right from the beginning to trace the chain of supply of illicit liquor.
'We keep a strict vigil at the border check posts both in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. We have also deployed our staff in civil clothes at check posts to keep a tab on the movement of suspicious people. We keep surveillance on known criminals indulging in such supplies and also keep a tab on suspected bootleggers near the wine shops or the areas where such liquors are usually supplied,' he said.
The officer said many a time, it has been observed that these people bring liquor on foot. They carry the bottles in their bags or transport them in two-wheelers or cars.
In southeast district alone, out of the 340 cases registered under the excise act so far, letters were sent to the excise department in at least 144 cases to dispose of liquor. Till September end, 38,875 quarters of liquor was disposed of, the officer added.
Dwarka district, which also shares borders with neighbouring states, has also seized 59,307 bottles and 132 vehicles. As many as 421 cases have been registered under the excise act and 449 people arrested so far, according to police. PTI AMP DPB