State excise dept arrests six alleged smugglers from Nalasopara East; in past two years, it has seized illegal liquor worth about Rs 200 crore
Officers with the liquor they seized from Nalasopara East on Sunday
Smugglers have been making massive profit by selling cheap liquor in expensive bottles in the state. The Maharashtra Excise Department explained how such gangs procure empty high-cost bottles, fill them up with cheap liquor procured duty free from other states and sell them for higher price. In the past two years, the department has seized such illegal liquor bottles worth about Rs 200 crore.
The department on Sunday seized high-end scotch bottles worth Rs 1.24 crore from Nalasopara East and arrested six people. These bottles were smuggled from Madhya Pradesh, said officers. They were seized before the smugglers could mix them with cheap liquor and sell for profit.
The Sunday’s seizure included scotch of Johnnie Walker, Oban, Caol ila, all smuggled from Madhya Pradesh where each bottle costs between Rs 5,545 and Rs 7,485. In Maharashtra, they are priced between Rs 9,000 and Rs 11,500.
According to the department, gangs purchase empty bottles of expensive liquor from scrap dealers or hoteliers, and ensure the labels are intact. They polish the bottles, and fill them with a mixture of high-end and cheap liquors to make expensive duplicate scotch.
An officer told mid-day, “Liquor that costs less than R1,000 is mixed with expensive scotch, and the bottles are sealed with machines.” They spend about Rs 2,300 on each bottle and sell it for over Rs 10,000, making a massive profit.
State Excise Commissioner Kantilal Umap told mid-day, “Our department is vigilant. We are working to curb the sale or smuggling of illegal liquor in the state. We will not allow any loss of revenue because of these smugglers.”