KAZHAKOOTTAM: The arrest of an Excise preventive officer accused of abetting smuggling of illicit liquor is expected to shed light on the involvement of more officers who are allegedly part of the unholy nexus between Excise personnel and smugglers.
It is learnt that top-level officers of the Excise Department have decided to intensify surveillance on some of the officers who were also suspected to have links with the spirit mafia.
Speaking to Express, Salim Kumar, the then Thiruvananthapuram Assistant Excise Commissioner, who is now in the Canteen Stores Department, Ernakulam, said that certain officers might have provided assistance to the arrested Excise preventive officer I P K Rajan. “I certainly can’t say they played an active role in the proceedings. But I believe that some of them had colluded with the spirit mafia and played a supporting role to I P K Rajan. Many of the officers were aware of his involvement as he shared an open relationship with the mafia,” he said.
Another officer with the department backed the opinion of Salim Kumar. He said that some of the Excise staff stationed at various checkpoints still provide support for the safe entry of spirit-transporting vehicles.
“Excise Intelligence and Investigation Bureau which is in charge of this preventing such activities can monitor the involvement of suspected Excise officers. But this would be a time-consuming process,” he said.
I P K Rajan,a preventive officer, was remanded on Wednesday after he was arrested for his links with spirit mafia.
Rajan’s arrest was made in connection with a major spirit haul from Manamkulam near Kazhakoottam in 2010.
1,800 litres of spirit,empty bottles of Indian-Made Foreign Liquor, fake labels and stickers of famous brands were seized from a liquor-mixing centre during the operation. Though the case was registered soon, the investigation received a jolt after investigating officer Salim Kumar was transferred to Ernakulam.
According to officials in the Excise Department, I P K Rajan was transferred twice after his involvement with spirit barons was unearthed by top officials.
He is currently serving the Kollam division, after an inter-district transfer.
The arrest was made after going through the call details of the main accused Kulathur Shibu. The majority of the calls were made to a number which was used by Rajan.