DUPLICATE BEER BRANDS SOLD IN MAHARASHTRA, 2 HELD IN VIRAR

MUMBAI : An inter-State gang has been busted by the State Excise department, wherein the gang would procure cheap beer from neighbouring Daman and Silvassa Union Territories and would store the beer in a godown in Virar where the men would replace the stickers and caps on the bottles and sold the fake beer as if the beer was brewed in Maharashtra. Around 105 cases of the fake  beer and Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) was seized from the godown, which was to be sold to rural hamlet in Virar and Vasai area. In November 2014, the Excise department had raised a beer factory in Talasari,Palghar where fake beer was being manufactured where cheap beer and soda were mixed and then sealed.

Said Police Subhash Jadhav, Flying Squad, of the State Excise department, we were on a watch since the past fortnight, about two tempos which would be arriving from Daman carrying the low priced beer and whisky to Virar. We laid a trap, and stopped the two tempos near the Charoti Check Naka in Talasari and we foud that the liquor boxes were hidden under a stack of empty plastic vegetable crates and the driver tried to give us flimsy replies, so we emptied the entire contents and found the hidden beer boxes,said PI Jadhav.

The bottles were to be taken to a godown in Virar,where the men would immerse the  bottles in water so that the stickers peel off and then they would put on the stickers which was actually colour xerox copies of the original Maharashtra brand on the bottles to make it appear as if the beer was brewed in Maharashtra. The Daman brewed beer have markings to show "Not To Be Sold In Maharashtra" so the men would immerse the  bottles in water so that the labels peel off, said PI Jadhav. They would open the seal of the beer bottles at warm temperature so that the carbon dioxide inside the bottles does not get released in the air, he said. Next, they had a machine which would open the seal of the bottle and the accused would reseal the bottle which would also contain Maharashtra markings, and then they would sell the bottles in hamlets for low prices,particularly during  pre-marriage functions (Sangeet), and other events to the tribals, said the official.

The men would procure the beers from Daman at a low rate of around Rs 60 per bottle and then would sell the duplicate beer to tribals at around Rs 140 per bottle, thus making a cool Rs 80 profit on each bottle,said PI Jadhav. Similiarly, they would also change the labels on the IMFL bottles by immersing the same in water and after the labels peeled off, they would paste color xerox copies of the brands carrying the Maharashtra brewery address on the fake bottles and then sell it at huge profits,he said.

We have arrested the two men under Sections108, and 65 (a) of the Maharashtra Prohibition Act and we are on the lookout for the mastermind who is hiding somewhere in the Union Terrorities of Daman, Dadra,Nagar and Haveli and Silvassa, he said. The total beer and whisky bottles seized is in the range of Rs 3.40 lakhs, he said and more arrests will be made in the case.