Thrissur: Excise sleuths on Saturday busted an illicit liquor racket when they clamped down on a manufacturing unit that was being run in Peringottukara using a restaurant as a front. The action was taken based on a tip-off the Excise Commissioner's central squad received that production of illicit liquor would go up during the Christmas-New Year season. The racket, busted by a team led by Thrissur Excise CI T Ashok, had a distribution chain spread across the state.
Six people were arrested as part of the raid. They are Dr Anoop Kumar (44) of Muriyad, Thazhathukunnel Sherin Mathew (37) of Muttithadi in Kallur, Panickasseri Prajeesh (34) of Chirakkal in Cherpu, Reji (55) and Robin (47) of Kottayam, and Melwin Gomez (44) of Mayyanad in Kollam. Dr Anoop is also an actor and Prajeesh is a music director.
Excise received information that an illicit liquor unit was operating under the guise of running a restaurant near Gokulam School in Peringottukara. Following this, Excise officials disguised themselves as job seekers and were employed in the restaurant. They collected information about the activities there and reported to their higher-ups.
Excise sleuths seized 1,070 litres of illicit liquor stored in bottles and cans. Materials used to make the liquor and two vehicles used to smuggle the bottles were also seized during the raid.
Dr Anoop, who is also a human rights activist and a media person, is the one who rented the restaurant and started the manufacturing unit. The spirit was brought from Bengaluru. They sold one litre of liquor for the price of half a bottle. Liquor was made to order and delivered at the point specified by the buyer.
Anoop was directly involved in the distribution process. Anoop confessed that he has escaped many inspections using his credentials as a media person and a human rights activist.