The authorities in Thane district seem to be waiting for a replay of the Malad-like hooch tragedy of 2015 or the recent incident in Punjab which claimed more than 80 lives due to consumption of illicit liquor as isolated zones running deep into the jungles and marshy land in and around the villages of Bhayandar continue to be the favourite destinations for local brewers.
This is evident of the fact that illicit hooch continues to flow freely as the notorious liquor mafia having their prominent presence in the rural areas of Bhayandar, appear to have brazenly continued with their nefarious activities, posing a serious threat to human life amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
While the excise department continues to play blind, the police seized illicit liquor manufactured in local haath-bhattis (manual brewing unit) worth more than Rs 65,000. Acting on a tip-off, a police team under the instructions of senior police inspector- Chandrakant Jadhav laid a trap on a marshy stretch near the crematorium in the Morva-Bhatti area of Bhayandar (west) at around 10:30 pm on Sunday.
However, the four bootleggers spotted the police team and managed to evade the police dragnet after abandoning the 13 plastic bags containing the illicit hooch. One of the absconding accused has been identified as- Avinash Patil, police said.
While the local police have been busting illicit liquor brewing units and taking action against bootleggers, who were found to be ferrying and selling country made liquor, the excise department which is headed by the district collector continues to turn a blind eye towards the illegal activities.
Meanwhile, a case under the relevant sections of the Bombay Prohibition Act has been registered against the quartet. The hooch mafia is undeterred by the police crackdown on their activities.