Belagavi: In preparation for five state assembly elections, illicit liquor transportation has been thriving under the radar. Acting on a tip-off, officials from the Belagavi Excise department have employed advanced tactics to thwart these operations.
Last month, excise officials discovered a concealed stash of liquor cleverly hidden among plywood inside a lorry. This time, their ingenuity was once again put to the test. They intercepted a lorry posing as a fake transformer, concealing hidden liquor.
Following the tip-off, enforcement officers took action near the Hirebagewadi toll on Tuesday. They detained a lorry with the registration number MH 43 Y 2976 and began questioning the driver. This led to the discovery of liquor worth Rs 10 lakhs hidden among two electric transformers. The excise officials seized liquor from five different companies packed in cartons, with an estimated value of Rs 250. The lorry’s driver, Sriram Sudhakar Parade (31) from Mumbai, Maharashtra, was apprehended, and the lorry itself, valued at Rs 20 lakhs, was seized.
The lorry was equipped with advanced technology controlled by GPS equipment. The accused had attempted to deactivate the GPS during the enforcement officers’ intervention. It is suspected that another team somewhere was orchestrating the lorry’s movements. To outwit the culprits, the excise team reactivated the GPS and seized the vehicle.
The liquor was being transported from Goa as five states were holding elections, including Telangana. The accused believed that concealing the liquor among transformers would avoid suspicion, but their plan was foiled by the vigilant excise officials.
The operation was executed under the guidance of Additional Excise Commissioner Dr. Y. Manjunath, Excise Joint Commissioner Feroz Khan Killedar, Excise Deputy Commissioner Vanajakshi M, and a team led by Excise Superintendent Vijay Kumar Hiremath. Dr. Y. Manjunath mentioned that the accused were clever enough to manipulate the vehicle’s GPS, but the intelligence network of the excise department prevailed. Ongoing investigations are underway, as multiple networks are implicated in these illegal activities. He also explained that in a previous case involving a trip to Goa for investigation, the distilleries claimed that they had legally sold the alcohol. This case is also being pursued by authorities as it remains a concern.