Pure spirit diverted for making liquor seized in Maha; 6 held

Mumbai, May 6 (PTI) A flying squad of Maharashtra's excise department has seized a huge quantity of pure spirit, diverted to manufacture liquor instead of sanitisers, and arrested six persons, including a top executive of a private firm, in Ahmednagar district, an official said on Wednesday.

Among the arrested were the manager of a warehouse and general manager of Latur-based Siddhi Sugar and Allied Industries Pvt Ltd, he said.

The incident came to light on Sunday when the flying squad of the state excise department got information about illegal use of spirit by a gang, he said.

Accordingly, the squad raided Bhange Organic Chemicals Ltd's premises at Nevase in Ahmednagar district, where they found two tankers filled with 40,535 litres of pure spirit valued at Rs 20.67 lakh, he said.

Bhange Organic had permission from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to make sanitisers from spirit, but it was using the chemical, brought from Latur, to manufacture liquor illegally, the official said.

When we raided the unit, we found that the tankers were carrying pure spirit, instead of denatured spirit, said Prasad Surve, Divisional Deputy Commissioner of the excise department.

Pure spirit is mainly used for manufacturing liquor and not for sanitisers, he said.

The flying squad then went to Ahmedpur in Latur, where Siddhi Sugar's factory is situated, he said.

The spirit found in Bhange Organic unit was sourced from Siddhi Sugar, he said.

During investigation, the alleged role of the factory manager and general manager of the Latur company in the illegal activity came to light, following which they were arrested, the official said.

According to the Bombay Denatured Spirits Rule, 1959, the excise department had powers to regulate and control use of spirit and alcohol, he said.

However, a court ruling, which came in December 2017, said the department does not have such powers, the official said.

Some organised syndicates take advantage of the order and divert spirit from industrial use to manufacturing liquor illegally, he said. PTI DC RSY RSY