Tightening their screws on the notorious hooch mafia, the Mira Bhayandar-Vasai Virar (MBVV) police commissionerate busted six illicit liquor brewing units (haath-bhatti) in the coastal areas of Arnala near Virar. The simultaneous raids were conducted by special teams from the Arnala coastal police station in Virar started at around 6 am and continued till late in the afternoon. Acting on specific tip-offs, police teams under the supervision of ACP Chandrakant Jadhav and Senior Police Inspector-Mahesh Shetye, planned systematic raids and deputed special squads to swoop down on the illicit brewing units located in makeshift tenements near the Arnala Fort.
The early morning raids took the brewers, operators and bootleggers by surprise. Raw ingredients including fermented jaggery wash and manufacturing equipment worth more than Rs. 3.18 lakh was seized and destroyed by the police team.The spate of raids has yet again exposed the blind eye turned by the excise officials towards the illegal activities of the notorious liquor mafia who have been brazenly registering their presence in the rural areas and coastal belt of Thane and Palghar district's, despite the police action. Notably, the excise department is headed by the respective collectors of the district.
"We have intensified vigil and the action against the hooch mafia will continue until the entire illegalities are wiped out from the region.' said a senior police officer requesting anonymity. Meanwhile cases 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) against all the the accused. Further investigations were underway.
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 and a strong kick. Apart from affecting the liver, kidney and respiratory system, these chemicals when used in disproportionate proportions turn the booze into an extremely poisonous drink which can claim the lives of those consuming it, like the Malad Malwani-like tragedy which had left around 100 people dead due to the consumption of spurious liquor in 2015.