LUCKNOW: Liquor smuggling may not be happening on a large scale during the lockdown, but it is available at a premium in Uttar Pradesh.
Since the lockdown began on March 22 with the Janata Curfew, very few people have been arrested for liquor smuggling.
According to police sources, barely a dozen persons have been arrested in different districts of the state for smuggling liquor during the lockdown period.
Two persons were arrested on April 1 in the Para locality in Lucknow, who were working as carriers in the liquor smuggling racket. The third accomplice managed to escape.
Two crates of liquor were recovered from their possession with 96 pouches of country liquor.
On Wednesday, in the Chandauli district, thieves broke into a liquor shop and decamped with liquor worth lakhs of rupees.
The incident took place at Alinagar where the thieves broke into the shop from the rear gate.
"They remained in the shop for more than half an hour and took away bottles of liquor and also the cash kept in a drawer," said Avadesh Jaiswal, the shop owner.
The thieves did not realise that the CCTV cameras were working even though the shop was closed in the lockdown. The entire robbery has been captured on the CCTV cameras and is now going viral on the social media.
The police hopes to arrest the thieves soon because their faces are clearly visible in the footage.
Meanwhile, a senior police official said that smuggling of liquor is not being done at a large scale during the lockdown period because of the intensive checking.
"Moreover, most people do not consume liquor during the "Navratri' period and in the lockdown, we are searching and questioning everyone who is on the road. So the possibility of liquor smuggling is almost negligible," he said.
However, regular consumers of liquor claim that their favourite brand is easily available in the state capital, though at a premium.
A bottle of Royal Stag that is normally sold for Rs 600, is presently available at Rs 1,600 while Blenders' Pride that is priced at Rs 800 is being sold for Rs 2,200-Rs 2,400.
Though liquor shops are shut from the outside, sources said that liquor was being freely made available to 'known customers' from the rear side.