SRIKAKULAM: Taking advantage of the high prices of liquor and non-availability of popular brands in the State, bootleggers from neighbouring Odisha are smuggling adulterated liquor to various parts of Srikakulam district. The Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB) sleuths, who have busted spurious liquor-making gangs and arrested at least seven Odia people in the last 15 days, have found that organised gangs are working in the district. The gangs are filling adulterated liquor in branded liquor bottles and selling them. These gangs are operating from rented houses in the district, the SEB sleuths said.
Less number of liquor shops on the border areas is helping the gangs expand their illegal business in the remote villages.
The YSRC government had reduced the number of liquor outlets in the State by 33 per cent and increased the prices of liquor to discourage people from alcohol consumption as part of its phased prohibition policy.
There is a huge demand for illegal liquor in rural areas due to fewer outlets as well as high prices in AP.
Especially on Andhra-Odisha Border (AOB), there is a huge demand for Odisha liquor as rates are low in Odisha when compared to Andhra Pradesh. With this, illegal liquor transportation and selling has become a livelihood for many Odisha liquor gangs.
After the AP government put strict surveillance on the AOB to restrict illegal liquor transportation, the Odisha liquor mafia has come up with a new plan: making spurious/ adulterated liquor in Srikakulam itself.
The gangs from Odisha have been making and selling spurious liquor in various parts of Srikakulam district. They transport raw material such as spirit, colours, labels and empty bottles for making spurious liquor to Srikakulam in various ways. Later, they make spurious liquor in rental houses and sell them in rural and coastal villages with the help of local persons.
The SEB has busted two spurious liquor-making gangs in Amudalavalasa and Sompeta mandals in the district in the past 15 days. They have arrested at least seven Odisha citizens and seized more than 400 liters of spurious liquor and lakhs of rupees worth raw material such as spirit, colours, branded labels and empty bottles.
Speaking to TNIE, SEB additional SP Srinivasarao said, “We have put strict surveillance on AOB to restrict flow of non-duty paid liquor as well as adulterated/ spurious liquor. Recently, we have busted two Odisha spurious gangs and arrested at least seven persons, including main accused Durgaprasad aka Chintu Chowdary, with the help of Odisha officials. Based on the leads given by the arrested persons, we are intensifying our efforts to catch the other gangs.”
“AP people are working as transporters for the Odisha liquor gangs operating in the district. They have been transporting the raw material to Srikakulam through private transports,” he said.