3 Dera Bassi units raided post Majha illicit liquor deaths

27,600 litres of chemical seized; ‘Biggest-ever’ haul; 5 arrested

Gaurav Kanthwal

Tribune News Service

Dera Bassi, August 9

Modus operandi

  • Chemical units buy pharmaceutical waste from various sources and re-distill it

  • The distillate so obtained is sold as solvent and resold as spirit to bootleggers

The Excise and Taxation Department today raided three chemical units in Dera Bassi and seized 27, 600 litres of illicit chemical containing alcohol. The department claimed it to be the biggest haul ever. The raids come after the spurious liquor deaths in Punjab’s three Majha districts.

Four persons, including the owners of the firms, were arrested. Those named in the FIR are KP Singh and AK Chaudhary, Allychem Chemicals directors, Gaurav Chaudhary, the proprietor of Om Solvi Trading Co, and Jagmohan Arora, the proprietor of Pure Chemicals.

Officials suspect the seized liquid to be methyl alcohol. However, the nature of the liquid, its ingredients and strength would only be known through gas chromatography, a process that takes two days.

Chemical units buy pharmaceutical waste from various sources and re-distil it. The distillate so obtained is sold as solvent which is further sold in the name of spirit and passed on to bootleggers, who sell it as alcohol.

Working in tandem

Police teams of Tarn Taran, Amritsar and the Excise Department are working jointly to bust this new modus operandi of using chemicals to produce alcohol. — Rajat Agarwal, Punjab Excise Commissioner

During the raid, 82 drums of 200 litres each from Allychem Chemicals, 49 drums from Om Solvi Trading Co, and seven from Pure Solutions were seized. Allychem Chemicals, a bulk drug manufacturing unit, has been running at a loss for some time. Excise officials said these firms supplied the material to Binny Chemicals here which would further sold it. On July 23, as many as 5,300 litres of chemicals were seized from Binny Chemicals.

Joint Commissioner (Excise) Naresh Dubey said, “The department obtained a lead after six such containers were seized from the area recently. A joint team of the SIT, Excise Department and the Punjab Police conducted a raid, which began last night. Officials investigating the Tarn Taran deaths were here too. We will find out the source, to whom and where the chemical was to be supplied and through whom.”

Punjab Excise Commissioner Rajat Agarwal, in a video, said: “Police teams of Tarn Taran, Amritsar and the Excise Department are working jointly to bust this new modus operandi of using chemicals to produce alcohol.”

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