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Bootlegger salary: Rs 40k

- Rohtas liquor gang bust reveals booming 'industry'

Police present the bootleggers and the seized consignment of Indian made foreign liquor on Wednesday. (Sanjay Choudhary)

Patna, Jan. 11: Salary of Rs 40,000 per month transferred directly into respective bank accounts for home-delivering consignments - that's what "employees" of a bootlegging gang in Dehri-on-Sone in Rohtas district used to get.

Police busted the gang today, and details tumbled out that show how prohibition has heralded achchhe din (good days) for unscrupulous elements willing to take risks for quick bucks.

Even those who worked as daily wage labourers for the gang would earn Rs 1,500 daily. Satya Kumar, the alleged kingpin, told interrogators that the gang earned between Rs 15 lakh and Rs 20 lakh per month.

He is just 19 years old.

The resident of Islamganj locality of Dehri-on-Sone, around 154km southwest of Patna, had provided "jobs" to 10 boys, in the age group of 18 to 20 years. The required "qualification" was owning a motorbike - on which they would deliver the alcohol to the buyers.

The gang took orders on mobile phones.

"We had a system of home delivery for buyers in the sub-divisional town. The buyers come from all strata of society - from the business community to salaried professionals," Satya is learnt to have told the cops.

Many bigwigs are involved in the illegal trade, he is also learnt to have revealed along with the modus operandi.

The consignment brought from Jharkhand's Nawadih and Japla was handed over to the members at night so that it could be delivered to customers early in the morning.

"The consignment was brought in a stolen car from Jharkhand," he told the interrogators.

The vehicle was changed every two months.

Dehri sub-divisional police officer (SDPO) Anwar Javed Ansari said instructions had been issued to freeze Satya's account at State Bank of India in Dehri-on-Sone, from which "salaries" to the gang members would be transferred.

Satya and his associate Shankar Sharma, 20, a resident of Sakhra in Rohtas district, were arrested on a tip-off that bootleggers were trying to deliver liquor to some local residents, Ansari said.

Five of Satya's associates - Neeraj Kumar, Gorakh Kumar, Golu Kumar, Vicky Kumar and Rahul Kumar - managed to give the raiding cops the slip, and the other members have also gone into hiding.

The police seized 20 bottles of foreign liquor (each of 400ml) and 1,600 pouches (200ml) of country liquor made in Jharkhand, and a car with a Madhya Pradesh registration number. The liquor was stored in a furniture shop to avoid police action, SDPO Ansari told The Telegraph.

Satya told the cops that a 200ml pouch of country liquor, bought for Rs 20 in Jharkhand, sells for Rs 80 in Bihar. Similarly, foreign liquor bought for Rs 400 in Jharkhand sells for Rs 900 in Rohtas.

Police sources said the gang was operating for the past six months.

Satya's associate Shankar told a group of local journalists outside the office of the SDPO that jobless youths saw tremendous potential in bootlegging in Bihar.

"There are several groups operating in the region who have demarcated their areas of operation," Shankar said.

A senior police official, who was present during the interrogation of the two arrested bootleggers, said they have revealed the names of bigwigs who were involved in the illegal trade flourishing in the border districts of the state.

Yesterday, director-general of police (DGP) Pramod Kumar Thakur warned all superintendents of police and other police officers of stern action for lapses in enforcing prohibition.

"No police officials, whosever they may be, will be spared for letting off the people involved in violating the prohibition laws," the DGP said.


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