The state government has allowed home delivery of liquor – barring containment zones – in Thane amid the lockdown which has been imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19. However, some establishments have started taking undue advantage of the relaxations, thus defeating the entire purpose of the stop-gap arrangements put in place by the district administration.
Three more employees of a wine shop in Bhayandar, including the store manager, have landed in the custody of the police for defying lockdown rules and relaxation protocols by selling Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) from the premises of the establishment. Based on information, a team led by Deputy SP Shashikant Bhosale swooped down on Chetan Wine Shop in Bhayandar (west) on Friday evening and caught the accused red handed as they indulged in over-the-counter-sales.
“The trio were booked under the relevant sections of the Maharashtra Prohibition Act and provisions of the IPC for disobeying orders duly promulgated by a public servant,” said Bhosale.
Notably, the Local Crime Branch (LCB) unit of the Thane (rural) police has already sought cancellation of licenses of those establishments in the twin-city, which were found to be selling IMFL, beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks during the lockdown period, last month. While the erring establishments continue to sell booze, action against them by the excise department is still awaited.
The district collector, who heads the district disaster management authority, is empowered to assess the severity of offences and decide the quantum of punishment which can range from monetary penalties to temporary suspension of licenses and even permit termination.
Home delivery of liquor has been permitted within the limits of various municipalities in the district, with the exception of containment zones in these areas. Country-made liquor was not covered in the order, and retailers are supposed to follow all norms. Any type of violation attracts strict penal action including hefty fines and even cancellation of licenses.