In an attempt to flush out illegal liquor breweries (haath-bhatti) from their jurisdiction, the Mira Bhayandar- Vasai Virar (MBVV) police and officials from the excise department, Thane frequently conducted raids in the coastal and rural areas of the twin-city.
However despite this the local hooch mafia seems to be unfazed by the crackdown and continue with their nefarious activities. After a boat ride and 30 min walk deep into the mangrove belt near the creek in Khopra village on the Uttan Road in Bhayandar, a team from the excise wing led by Senior Inspector- Vijaykumar Thorat managed to locate an illicit liquor brewery and destroyed multiple barrels of hooch along with ingredients including fermented jaggery wash and other manufacturing equipment worth more than Rs 67,000 on Tuesday.
As it happens in most of the raids, the excise team failed to find any brewer at the spot. Moreover, the identity of the kingpin who had brazenly set up the illicit hooch brewing unit is yet to be ascertained.
Officials contended that since the dens are located deep inside the jungle area, the brewers who are well aware of the escape route manage to evade the dragnet.
Meanwhile, a case under section 65 F (uses, keeps or has in his possession any materials, still utensils, implements or apparatus for the purpose of manufacturing any intoxicant) of Indian Penal Code has been registered in this context.
Notably, the disappearance of the den operators and their anonymity, continues to raise questions despite the fact that the state excise department has directed his officials to remain on mission mode against hooch brewers and to effectively enforce the Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities (MPDA) Act.
Not a single case has been registered under this act so far in this region.
From urea to methanol and even rotten jaggery, the notorious bootleggers have been using all sorts of material to brew illicit hooch for quick fermentation which can claim the lives of those consuming it, like the Malad Malwani-like tragedy which had left around 100 people dead in 2015.
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