Karnataka earns second position in seizure of Illegal liquor

Karnataka earns second position in seizure of Illegal liquor
Highlights

In Karnataka, 9.6 lakh litres of liquor worthing upto Rs 38 crore was confiscated by the state election authorities.

BENGALURU: In terms of value the state of Karnataka by accounting for the second highest seizure of illegal liquor has earned a dubious distinction this election season.

In Karnataka, 9.6 lakh litres of liquor worthing upto Rs 38 crore was confiscated by the state election authorities. In the first phase 5.7 lakh litres of liquor worth Rs 21.7 crore was seized, and in the second phase 4 lakh litres worth Rs 16.1 crore was confiscated.

Chief electoral officer of Karnataka, Sanjiv Kumar had said that, "What we learnt in terms of enforcement during last year's assembly polls helped us. While it's a cause of concern that the scale of seizure is going up every election season, it's also due to the improved efficiency of the system and coordinated efforts of different departments involved in enforcement."

In the third and fourth position were, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh as the authorities have seized liquor worth Rs 32 crore and Rs 29 crore from the two states respectively.

SL Rajendra Prasad, additional commissioner of excise, said that, "For instance, the majority of liquor consumed in Kerala is manufactured in Maharashtra and has to pass through Karnataka. We found many cases of liquor being transported without permit and other documents required to prove legitimacy."

The seized liquor which is in the possession of the excise department, officials will be summoning the owners and verifying the documents according to the procedure. If the owners can prove the liquor is legitimate and they have paid duty, the stock shall be released to them. If it is non-duty paid stock after the due procedure, officials have to destroy it.

However, experts, are sceptical about the culprits being punished, considering the corruption in government departments. According to them, the procedure followed by authorities for the seizure of illegal cash/liquor is vastly opaque.

Harish Narasappa, a lawyer and the co-founder of Daksh, which studies electoral issues, had said that, "The seizure amount is going up election after election, and so is the scale of release of items confiscated. It clearly reflects the growing corruption and calls for drastic electoral reforms to curb malpractices."

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