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Booze on the Rise: EC’s Seizure Figures Reveal How Gujarat, Bihar are Not So Dry After All

Representative Image.(Image: Reuters)

Representative Image.(Image: Reuters)

Alcohol seized from dry states till the second phase of election is three times worth of liquor confiscated from these states during the 2014 general election.

New Delhi: At the end of the first two phases of 2019 Lok Sabha election, law enforcement agencies have seized liquor worth over Rs 13 crore from dry states.

The seizure is three times the worth of alcohol seized from these states during the 2014 general election. So far, liquor worth over Rs 219 crore that was supposed to be distributed among voters has been seized from across the country.

According to data available with the Election Commission, a total of 3.69 lakh litre of liquor (worth Rs 10.7 crore) was seized from Gujarat, 0.71 lakh litre from Bihar, 0.56 lakh litre (worth Rs 1.86 crore) from Nagaland. Another Rs 24 lakh worth liquor was confiscated by agencies in Mizoram till April 18.

The dry states (where liquor is fully banned) include Gujarat, Bihar, Nagaland, Mizoram and union territory of Lakshadweep. There is a partial ban on alcohol in some districts of Manipur.

These seizures have exposed the illegal liquor supply channels unchecked by the respective state governments. Among them, three states — Gujarat, Bihar and Nagaland — are, at present, being ruled by the BJP or BJP-led NDA governments.

Till phase two, total liquor worth Rs 12.8 crore has been seized from Gujarat, Nagaland, Mizoram and Lakshadweep. Ahead of the 2014 election, liquor worth only Rs 4.31 crore was seized from these states.

Among the dry states, liquor worth Rs 9.12 crore from Gujarat, 0.55 lakh litre from Bihar, Rs 1.86 crore from Nagaland, Rs 24 lakh from Mizoram and Rs 30,000 from Lakshadweep was seized ahead of the first phase of the election. The worth of liquor seized from across the nation in the first phase stands at Rs 198 crore.

During the 2014 Lok Sabha election, liquor worth Rs 3 lakh, Rs 3.66 crore, Rs 35 lakh and Rs 27 lakh was seized from all these states, respectively.

While no liquor had been seized in Lakshadweep, the value of total alcohol confiscation from all Indian states was about Rs 92 crore in 2014.

Besides liquor, agencies have seized cash, drugs, precious metals, like gold and silver, and freebies worth Rs 2,413.50 crore from across in the last few days.

In all, cash worth over Rs 697 crore, drugs worth about Rs 1,152 crore, precious metals worth over Rs 512 crore and freebies worth over Rs 51 crore have been seized.