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No cheer! Illegally-sold booze burns hole in pockets

Three people were arrested in Basavanagudi last week for selling scotch bottles, while 244 liquor bottles were seized at Kengeri worth Rs 45,000.

Published: 07th April 2020 06:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th April 2020 06:12 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: While the government has no plans to open liquor stores in Karnataka during the lockdown, there is no doubt that the means of selling alcohol through the backdoor have been alive and kicking in Bengaluru. And with the recent raids and seizures by the City Crime Branch (CCB), the city has seen a huge spike in the price of illegal sale of alcohol in the state.

For instance, while the original price for a 650 ml bottle of beer is around Rs 150-180, the current price has hit a whopping Rs 600 in Bengaluru. Similarly, the price for a quarter bottle of whiskey has also shot up between Rs 2,000 and Rs 6,000, depending on where there is demand and a higher risk of seizure.

“The central areas in Bengaluru have a higher rate, since there are cops roaming about. So if a person wants liquor, the prices increase based on the risk factor,” a source said, adding that there is no shortage of customers.

Meanwhile, the CCB alone has carried out three seizures since the beginning of the lockdown on March 24. Three people were arrested in Basavanagudi last week for selling scotch bottles, while 244 liquor bottles were seized at Kengeri worth Rs 45,000.

A similar case was seen in R T Nagar recently. “We have seized over 300 bottles. Selling liquor itself is not allowed, but here the accused have been caught selling it through back-door means, such as their own homes and at higher prices. But we have not seized any money in these three cases,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime 1) Kuldeep Kumar Jain.

Speaking to TNIE, Venkata Raja, Additional Commissioner (Crime and Enforcement), Excise Department, said that they have been “conducting raids every day since the lockdown”. The department has booked 18 cases in Bengaluru alone, while eight people have been arrested and five store licenses under CL2 and CL9 have been suspended.



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