Youth don army dresses to smuggle liquor

Dehradun : The high cost of liquor in Uttarakhand, even in cities which are not dry has over the years encouraged smuggling of liquor from the adjoining states in general and Chandigarh in particular.

And to escape being caught the smugglers adopt various strategies in a bid to hoodwink the excise department.

In the latest attempt, five young men, all from Punjab donned army fatigues and had black bands tied to their heads to appear as commandoes of the Indian army to smuggle in liquor from Chandigarh.

They were taking the consignment of liquor, 500 cases in all, to Rudraprayag, but were nabbed by an alert team of excise officials.

According to official sources, the five smugglers, dressed in army fatigues, were traveling in an army truck bearing an army number.

The consignment of liquor was loaded in the truck and some black army boxes, drums and beddings had been placed on top to make it appear that it was a consignment of belongings to army personnel.

However, at a railway crossing where an excise team was looking for smugglers who normally smuggle in liquor to the adjoining holy cities of Hardwar and Rishikesh, the army truck was stopped.

The five young men tried to force their way through claiming they were army personnel, but failed to show their I cards when asked for.

Getting suspicious, the excise team checked the truck and found the cache of liquor under the beddings and black boxes.

On interrogation the five arrested youth said that they had bought the truck at an army auction and had retained its army number and other logos on it to make it look like an original army truck and were using it to smuggle liquor.

They had on an earlier occasion also smuggled liquor to Rudraprayag.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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