GUWAHATI, Sept 9 - Sleuths of the Bureau of Investigation (Economic Offences) � BIEO � today seized five trucks loaded with India-made foreign liquor (IMFL) and busted a warehouse of jailed liquor trader Rajesh Jalan in the city from where he was continuing his illegal liquor trade.
Acting on a secret information, the BIEO raided the plot owned by Jalan near Sarusajai stadium and detected the illicit liquor, apparently brought from Arunachal Pradesh.
�We also found a large quantity of labels and corks. Apparently, the labelling and corks of the liquor brought from Arunachal Pradesh were changed at the warehouse and distributed in the State,� BIEO Superintendent of Police Pradeep Ranjan Kar told The Assam Tribune.
Around 1,300 cases of liquor, including high-end brands, were seized from the warehouse which was shrouded by over a dozen cowsheds. There were around eight people, including drivers and other employees, at the place at the time of the operation and all have been detained. Two other persons � Papu Singh and Sukhbir Singh � have been detained in this connection, while the BIEO is on the lookout for the main employee of Jalan who was managing the business.
The BIEO also raided a bottling plant of Jalan (Mangalam) at Amingaon here. The team is verifying the liquor cases found there. The liquor trader, jailed in an �under-bond� permit (permit required to transfer liquor from one bond to another) scam, owns two bottling plants and as many bonded warehouses.
Meanwhile, Excise Minister Parimal Suklabaidya has sought an immediate report from the Kamrup (Metro) Excise Superintendent on the incident.
�The minister has directed strict action against any officer found guilty of laxity in supervision. How is it possible that such an illegal business was going on in Guwahati itself without the knowledge of the excise officials on the ground?� sources close to the minister said.
Excise officials suspect the liquor was smuggled from Arunachal Pradesh in tankers.
The Excise Department is suffering a revenue loss of crores of rupees due to the illicit trade of liquor smuggled from Arunachal where taxes are considerably less than in Assam, a fact detailed in the Jindal Committee Report, which suggested various reforms, including lowering of taxes in Assam. According to official records, as many as 29,804 cases were registered in this connection during the last financial year in the State.
On August 24 last, the Excise Commissionerate had issued a circular to the district administrations to constitute flying squads to monitor the border (with Arunachal) points and also conduct frequent raids in the premises of retailers and wholesalers to catch fake products.