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Raid on bootleg booze

The excise department seized over 100 bottles of IMFL meant for the army from a Dumardagga home in Sadar police station area of Ranchi on Friday.

The owner, identified as Surendra Mahto, has been arrested and forwarded to jail.

Assistant commissioner (excise) Rakesh Kumar Singh said it was rather intriguing how booze meant for the forces reached a civilian. “The raid yielded 132 bottles of IMFL. The involvement of defence personnel in bootlegging cannot be ruled out,” he added.

Incidentally, the state does not levy taxes on canteen stores department supplies. A liquor bottle available for over Rs 1,500 in the open market barely costs Rs 500 at a CSD outlet.

In the past, the army has initiated measures to check misuse of CSD supplies, but booze bootlegging goes on unabated. Those living in cantonment areas often get domestic helps for free and on condition that they would be allowed to use their master’s CSD smart card to purchase liquor.

“I was once glad to get one such help. But when I visited her house, I was shocked to see her openly selling liquor purchased with our CSD card. She sold booze 20 per cent cheaper than in the open market and still made a profit of Rs 300-400 per bottle,” recalled a senior army officer’s wife.

The officer in question added that physical fitness exams in the services had become very tough and personnel had become more health conscious. “Their own liquor consumption has gone down. Besides, supply from the CSD has been restricted to four bottles per month in officer category.”

Most officers allow their subordinates, close friends, relatives and even domestic helps to use their cards to purchase liquor. “ If such situations persist, the CSD facility may be withdrawn. Several state governments are already reluctant to waive taxes on CSD supplies. CSD liquor prices in Jharkhand are perhaps the cheapest in the country,” he added.


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