Despite a series of raids and destruction of over a dozen illegal liquor breweries (haath-bhatti) by the police in and around the rural and coastal areas of the Vasai and Bhayandar-Uttan belt, the notorious liquor mafia continues to raze its ugly head at regular intervals as the excise department remains in deep slumber.
Acting a specific tip off, a team from the Valiv police station led by PSI- C.R. Patil under the instructions of Senior Police Inspector- Vilas Chougle busted a brewing unit which was operating from an isolated zone, running deep into the marshy swamps in the interior stretches of the creek in the Maljipada village in Vasai on Thursday.
The police team had to paddle their way on a fiber boat from Sasupada jetty to unearth the brewing den located amidst dense thickets of mangroves. Multiple barrels of hooch along with ingredients including 3,000 liters of fermented jaggery wash and other manufacturing equipment worth more than Rs.48,000. The team comprising police personnel- Yeshwant Marathe, Kumbhar, Palve, home guards-Suresh Bharsat, Sachin Paardhi sported half-pants and t-shirts as they had to literally wade through slush to weed out their target after the boat ride, officials said.
As it happens in most of the raids, the police failed to find any brewer at the spot. 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. The den operator identified as-Namdev Wagh has been booked under the relevant sections of the Maharashtra Prohibition Act. Notably, the Mira Bhayandar- Vasai Virar (MBVV) police led by commissioner- Sadanand Date has launched a crackdown on the notorious liquor mafia and local bootleggers to weed out such illicit breweries which pose a serious threat to human life amid the deadly coronavirus pandemic.
On the other hand, the district excise wing of Thane seems to be waiting for a replay of the Malad-like hooch tragedy of 2015 or the recent incident in Aligarh which claimed more than 36 lives due to consumption of illicit liquor Further investigations were underway.