THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The seizure of over 400 litres of duplicate foreign liquor from Kazhakkoottam early Monday morning has strengthened suspicions that such rackets could be thriving in this part of the state.
Monday’s seizure was the third in recent times, and certainly the biggest. Recently, Excise officials had seized 17 litres from Chirayinkeezhu and eight litres from Thiruvananthapuram. ‘’Those were minor cases compared to Monday’s. We are not yet sure whether these are unconnected rackets or part of a bigger, organised racket,’’ Excise Joint Commissioner, South Zone, said.
Mobile phones seized from two men arrested on Monday have been transferred to the Cyber Cell. Outgoing and incoming calls on the phones will be examined by the cell. Excise officials had chanced upon an illegal bottling plant near Kazhakkoottam during a combing operation on Sunday night.
A car which sped off without stopping when Excise officials signalled it to stop had hit a two-wheeler rider. An inspection revealed 250 bottles of liquor, and further investigation had led the Excise to the illegal plant early Monday morning.
In all, 400 bottles of fake IMFL, caramel essence, 100 litres of spirit, hundreds of empty bottles and packing equipment were seized. Two men who were in the car, Vipin alias Manu, 23, Mangalapuram; and Sajeendran, 44, had been arrested. A third man, Shibu alias Chakkummmodu Shibu had escaped. He is still absconding.