illegal country liquor shops mushrooming in kalighat area
Statesman news service
Kolkata, 4 September
Taking advantage of the lackadaisical attitude of a section of police officers, illegal country liquor shops have come up in close proximity to the residence of the chief minister, Miss Mamata Banerjee, in the past few months.
The dens are said to be getting tacit support from a section of police officers posted at Kalighat police station.
Incidentally, Miss Banerjee had reprimanded a senior police officers recently after she was informed that liquor was being sold in pan shops near her residence.
Though police acted prompty and stopped the selling of liquor from the pan shops in the area, illegal country liquor dens are operating with impunity at Barogoli and its adjoining areas in Kalighat.
A few weeks ago, an assistant sub-inspector (ASI) had caught one Gautam Bakshi, who allegedly is a courier in the area and supplies liquor to the owners of the illegal country liquor shops.
A police officer told The Statesman, on condition of anonymity, that Gautam was caught carrying around 30 bottles of country liquor, containing 18 litres of liquor, in a bag.
Gautam confessed that he had bought the liquor from a licensed country liquor shop at Kalighat to sell it to a particular den owner, for which he was to receive a huge commission.
According to the Bengal Excise Act, a person is not allowed to carry more than 12 litres of liquor at a time for personal consumption.
When taken to Kalighat police station, an officer of sub-inspector rank, who has been posted at the police station for more than three years and has good rapport with some Trinamul Congress leaders, intervened and asked his colleague to release Gautam.
As the Assistant Sub Inspector was not ready to release him, the Sub Inspector, who allegedly is in connivance with peddlers, asked Gautam to get a bill from the place of purchase.
After an hour an unknown person came with a bill. Thereafter, the SI and a constable finally prevailed on the ASI to let Gautam off. Sources said both the sub-inspector and the constable are in cahoots with the peddlers.
“They hardly conduct raids. Moreover, owners of the illegal liquor shops get prior information whenever any other police officer plans to conduct a raid. Some officers of the Kalighat police station are helping the peddlers. This can be proved if their call details of the past few months are accessed,” said a police officer.