HYDERABAD: For the past 10-months, sleuths of the State Excise department have been chasing and catching people smuggling non-duty paid foreign liquor from other States into Hyderabad. For the first time, they caught three people who purchased the non-duty paid premium liquor for consumption. Sources said that intention behind catching customers is to avoid losses to State coffers as duty is not paid on smuggled liquor.
After a four-month-long operation, the Excise department officials last week caught two alleged kingpins—Shiva Patil and Harish Singh— of a racket that was illegally transporting non-duty paid foreign liquor from other States into Hyderabad through private buses.
They are suspected to have smuggled around 40 bottles in each consignment, worth around Rs 6 crore per annum. While couriers of the consignment were caught in all seizures, the kingpins evaded arrests till last week. Shiva Patil was caught on January 4 and Harish Singh on January 7. During their raids, State Task Force team of the department came across something else that they were looking for long time -- a book containing a list of customers to whom Harish Singh sold liquor, sources said. Based on the details, they caught Niranjan Reddy from Malakpet and Mahesh Kumar from Petbasheerbad.
“We found eight to 10 bottles in their home and they confessed to having bought the liquor from Harish Singh. We were particular about catching some customers at least because it causes loss to the State government. Besides, people were brazenly calling the racket to place orders,” sources said. Apart from the two, another person Srinivas who bought the liquor from Shiva Patil, too was caught. Earlier, director of the department enforcement wing Akun Sabharwal had said that those who buy non-duty paid liquor can be punished under Section 34(a) of Telangana Excise Act.
Since the non-duty paid liquor sold by the alleged kingpins cost at least Rs 1,000 less than the price at wine shops, there was great demand for Shiva Patil and Harish Singh’s services.