Andhra police crack down on smuggling, illegal sale of liquor amid lockdown

Several arrests have been made in Krishna, Guntur and Kurnool districts of Andhra Pradesh.
Andhra police crack down on smuggling, illegal sale of liquor amid lockdown
Andhra police crack down on smuggling, illegal sale of liquor amid lockdown
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The Andhra Pradesh police, till Sunday, have made several arrests across three districts — Krishna, Guntur and Kurnool — cracking down on people trying to smuggle in liquor from Telangana and sell it at a cheaper rate amid the lockdown. 

In Kurnool, district excise and prohibition authorities have seized as many as 500 liquor bottles which were being smuggled from Mahbubnagar of Telangana on two-wheelers.

In Krishna district, three persons were arrested by Special Branch officers for illegally bringing in 207 liquor bottles, while Guntur excise officials arrested 13 individuals and seized 150 bottles for smuggling liquor.

According to officials, smugglers are either using two-wheeler vehicles or are using other link routes in the interiors to try and cross the state border and buy alcohol. Owing to the prevailing situation in the wake of COVID-19 spread, the Andhra government has prohibited the sale of liquor in red zones And has hiked the tax on liquor in other zones by 75%.

Telangana government, which extended lockdown till May 29, has allowed the sale of liquor selling at a hike of 16%, which is comparatively much lesser than Andhra Pradesh.

Speaking to TNM, Nandigama Deputy Superintendent of Police said, "Three people were caught in Chilakallu police limits and over 200 bottles were seized. They were smuggling alcohol from Kodad area of Suryapet district in Telangana.”

According to him, liquor is being brought on two-wheelers through isolated routes to escape scrutiny. In some cases, some people are even crossing the Krishna river on foot, since the water level has gone down, to buy liquor.

Inspector-General of Police (IGP-Enforcement) and Director of Excise and Prohibition, Vineet Brijlal, told TNM: "Certain incidents of illegal smuggling of liquor are in our cognisance. We have constituted special teams with officers from police and excise departments, which are working together to tackle such activities."

Vineet Brijlal further added, "Though liquor shops are open in the state, in many areas as the containment clusters are red zones, liquor shops are shut. There is also a difference in the price of liquor in both states, and so smugglers are trying to exploit the situation."

Andhra Pradesh government recently decided to set up a special enforcement bureau to look into illegal manufacture and smuggling of liquor in the state.

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