Liquor smuggled to Kerala from Karnataka; houses turned into 'distilleries'
Kannur: As the bars and liquor selling centres in Kerala are closed due to lockdown, illicit liquor is brought to the state from Karnataka in large quantities. Apart from this, distilling wash and arrack has become very common.
Wash is produced in hill ranges where the excise officials cannot reach easily. Even if they find out the hideouts, it is hard to nab the accused. The officials said that they failed to arrest the accused in several abkari cases due to Covid situation.
About 4087 litres of Karnataka liquor worth Rs 20 lakh was seized from Kasaragod district last month. 2100 litres of illicit liquor was seized in Kannur this month alone. 300 litres of arrack and 26,000 litres wash was seized last month.
The liquor distilling units in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are functioning even in lockdown and the tax is lower than Kerala. A bottle of liquor which costs only Rs 500 in Karnataka is sold for Rs 1500 in Kerala. Rs 1000 worth liquor is sold for Rs 3000 here.
During the previous lockdown, liquor was sold through 'BevQ' app in Kerala. As this was not continued, liquor smuggling increased this time. The public sector liquor companies are facing loss while the consumers are looted with huge price.
The excise officials said that people used even pressure cooker for distilling wash. In some cases, the youngsters distilled wash at their houses and the innocent women in family were made accused in cases. Illicit liquor distilling will attract upto 10 years of jail.
Liquor is mainly smuggled in trains and vegetable carriers. Smugglers make special chambers in vehicles and load it with liquor. As the monsoon has begun, the officials cannot open the vegetables safely packed in the vehicles. So, they can check the vehicles only if they get any secret information.