Barely a week after busting an illicit liquor manufacturing racket, the Amritsar rural police on Saturday unearthed another illegal production unit at Kotli Sakka village in Ajnala sub division in its biggest operation under the Red Rose campaign of the state government. This is the fourth such racket busted in Amritsar district in a fortnight.
During a nine-hour search and cordon operation, the 150-member team, led by senior superintendent of police (SSP) Dhruv Dahiya, confiscated 12 stills, 126-tonne of lahan (raw material used for making illicit liquor), 360 litres of illicit liquor, 1,830 kg of jaggery, 12 tarpaulins, 24 drums, 20 cans, 12 LPG cylinders, four motorcycles and two cars.
The police rescued two bonded labourers, who had been forced to work at the unit, besides three accused, identified as Gurbir Singh, Bhagwant Singh and Balwinder Singh of Kotli Sakka village. A search is on for those involved in taking the supply of illicit liquor from the accused.
Two of the accused, Bhagwant and Gursewak, already face 10 and five cases under the Excise Act, respectively.
Nine more people allegedly involved in the racket have also been booked under the Excise Act at the Raja Sansi police station. The police invoked sections of the bonded labour Act against the three arrested accused.
A Maruti Suzuki Swift and a Tata Indigo car were being used to supply the illicit liquor in Amritsar and its adjoining districts.
Property of accused will be frozen: SSP
Addressing a press conference, SSP Dahiya said, “We acted promptly on a tip-off and found that the accused had been running the business on a par with a liquor manufacturing distillery. Our investigation to ascertain the links of the accused is on.”
The SSP said the police were identifying the property earned by the accused through the illicit business. “This property will be frozen,” he said.
More recoveries in the offing
Stating that it was the biggest operation so far under the Red Rose campaign of the state government, he said more recoveries are expected as they pursue the case.
On March 11, the police had unearthed an illicit factory at Chappa Ram Singh village of Baba Bakala sub division, where 13 tonnes of lahan and two live stills were recovered. Five accused were arrested.
On March 5, the police had recovered 58 tonnes of lahan, 4.61 lakh ML of illicit liquor, nine stills, 41 drums, six LPG cylinders, 22 kg of opium plants and 10 tarpaulins from Lakhuwal village in Ajnala.
On March 1, an illicit liquor manufacturing unit was busted at Khiala Kalan in Ajnala. Nearly 110 tonnes of lahan and 1,780 litres of illicit liquor were recovered.
Eight people, including three women, were arrested. Six stills, 62 drums of 200 litres each, six LPG cylinders etc were recovered by the excise department team with the help of the police.