Police personnel attached to the Prohibition Enforcement Wing (PEW), Vellore, on Tuesday arrested a notorious bootlegger on charges of manufacturing illicit liquor. The police also seized over 1,300 bottles of duplicate India Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) bottles, 45 litres of rectified spirit (RS) along with 20 duplicate IMFL labels, 108 empty bottles and 52 bottle caps from him. The police also confiscated a mini-lorry and two motorbikes from him. The total worth of the seized contraband and vehicles was estimated around `12 lakh.
Acting on a tip-off about the manufacture of illicit liquor at Ralakuthoor village near Ombarabad, head constables attached to the wing, B Sathiyamurthy and V Sivanandham, rushed to the village on a motorbike. They found a mini-van and motorbikes parked in one Samir’s coconut groove on the outskirt of the village. A group of four persons were busy bottling the illicit liquor in IMFL bottles after adding a colour agent and pasting the labels (Chairman fine Brandy - “Defence only”) on it.
On seeing the policemen, the bootleggers abandoned the van and took to their heels. They disappeared into the coconut groove.
The two head constables chased them for five to six kilometres and managed to arrest Saravannan (43), a habitual offender and a resident of Alamelurangapuram. However, his associates managed to escape before a team of police personnel led by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) of PEW B Muthuramalingam reached the spot.
On interrogation, Saravannan spilled the beans and divulged his illegal activities’ network. Saravannan, who had been detained under the Bootleggers Act in 2008, said they had bought the duplicate labels and bottles from Bangalore. After adding the colouring agent to the rectified spirit that was smuggled from the hilly areas along the Tamil Nadu-Andhra Pradesh border, they bottled it and sold it in northern districts, DSP (PEW) B Muthuramalingam said.
He added that the seized contraband and vehicles were estimated to be worth Rs 12 lakh. “We have launched a search for Saravannans’ associates,” he said.
The PEW police registered a case against Saravannan under Sections 4(1)(b) (manufacturing illicit liquor) and 4(aaa) (possessing over 100 litres of illicit liquor) of Tamil Nadu Prohibition Act and Section 7 of Rectified Spirit Rules, 2000. He was remanded to the Vellore Central Prison for Men. “We will produce the seized contrabands and the vehicles before the Ambur Court,” Inspector of PEW, Vellore, Suresh, said.
Vellore Superintendent of Police I Eswaran handed over cash rewards to head constables Sathiyamurthy and Sivanandham for acting swiftly and arresting the bootlegger and seizing the cache of contraband.