Booze scam

‘Expert workers from UP’ got Ghanaur illegal distillery going

Accused sarpanch, confidant of local MLA, on the run; legislator claims being victimised

‘Expert workers from UP’ got Ghanaur illegal distillery going

Aman Sood

Tribune News Service

Patiala, June 2

Specialised labour from Uttar Pradesh and machinery bought from bootleggers in several states led to the setting up of the illegal liquor distillery unit in Ghanaur, which was sealed last month in a joint operation by the police and excise officials. The fake liquor was being supplied not only to other parts of Punjab but to states such as Haryana, Uttarakhand and UP.

Kingpin Dipesh Kumar was arrested last week for setting up and running the illegal Ghanaur distillery since December 2019. A senior police officer, investigating the case, said: “Dipesh went to Uttar Pradesh to meet professional bootleggers and bought machinery for turning ENL (extra neutral alcohol) into fake branded liquor.”

“He also brought labour, expert in this work, to run the distillery after demand for cheap liquor increased in Ghanaur,” he added.

“Around that time Congress-backed Khanpur Khurd sarpanch Amrik Singh entered into a partnership with Dipesh,” said sources. “Amrik would arrange the raw material, including ENL and stickers of various brands, for Dipesh. He would buy the liquor from Dipesh and sell it at his vends,” the officer said.

Amrik is yet to be arrested despite his bail application being rejected by the local court. Insiders allege that Amrik could evade arrest as he has strong political connections. The sarpanch is also known to be a confidant of local MLA Madan Lal Jalalpur. Talking to The Tribune correspondent, Jalalpur said: “I have been a vocal critic of my own government over certain issues. I know Amrik Singh and he has a clean record. Now attempts are being made to victmise me and my supporters”.

Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha Harpal Cheema, meanwhile, said the Aam Aadmi Party would seek a reply in the Vidhan Sabha from Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, who also holds the excise portfolio, about the illegal distillery and the distribution of fake liquor. “Ghanaur DSP Manpreet Singh, who is also part of the SIT, said: “We are following certain important leads and will disclose the findings shortly”. 

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