Acting swiftly on the directions issued by the Punjab Finance, Planning, Excise and Taxation Minister Advocate Harpal Singh Cheema to launch a statewide drive against illicit trade of Extra Neutral Alcohol (ENA), the Excise department and District police Patiala in a joint operation busted an organized module involved in smuggling and illegal selling of Extra Neutral Alcohol (ENA) in Punjab and neighboring states.
They seized a tanker carrying 35000 litres of ENA.Harpal Singh Cheema has directed the Excise department to expose the entire chain of forward and backward linkages leading to disclosure of the main suppliers and recipient of ENA in Punjab and other states.He said that Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann led Punjab Government has adopted zero tolerance policy against smuggling of liquor or any illegal activity relating to Excise, and nobody involved in such activities would be spared.
Revealing this here today, an official spokesperson of Excise department said that following the directions issued by the Finance Minister Harpal Singh Cheema in a review meeting of the department held on this Tuesday, the joint teams of Special Operations Group (SOG) of Excise Department and District Police Patiala were formed to ensure round the clock surveillance.
These teams seized a tanker carrying 35000 litres of ENA worth approximately Rs. 3.5 crore on Thursday after acting on an input that an organized module is involved in illegal sale and smuggling of ENA into the state of Punjab and Chandigarh.“During this operation, the teams noticed that a tanker diverted its route and moved towards Rajpura- Chandigarh road on reaching Rajpura.
The teams intercepted the tanker near Banur. It was found that the transporter of the tanker, which was meant for carrying ENA to the state of Goa, used to divert the tanker and pilfer some of the ENA at Rajpura and sell the rest of the consignment to the bottling plants of Chandigarh through a middleman who happens to be a liquor contractor in Chandigarh”, revealed the spokesperson.
He further added that a consignment of 2000 litres of ENA which was seized at Khanna on August 22 was sold by the same gang to a party in Amritsar who used to make illegal liquor. This gang was also involved in selling pilfered ENA to unscrupulous elements in Punjab. “A FIR has been registered at Banur police station of Patiala district against the accused transporter Jawahar Singh, his partner Sanjeev Kumar, Nishant, Varinder Chauhan and Gurcharan Singh”, he added.
Varun Roojam, Excise Commissioner, Punjab informed that the Department has stepped up the vigil against illicit liquor trade across the state and Special patrolling and Nakabandis were being done on the interstate borders and smuggling prone areas.