In a situation which seemed to have emerged straight out of a thriller movie, Palghar police and Thane rural officials came down heavily on seven illicit liquor breweries in a week.

Nitesh Poojari

Police raids illicit hooch via Google (3)In a major breakthrough, two illicit liquor breweries were tracked down in Bhayandar by local cops using the power of Google Earth! The web based mapping application developed by Google, proved to be a valuable tool for the tech-savvy police personnel in locating the two illicit liquor brewing units in Bhayandar on Feb 4. Five illicit dens were also cracked down in Vasai on Feb 8, by local crime branch of Palghar.

The raid was conducted on the notorious liquor mafia by the cops of the Thane (rural) police under the instructions of SP- Dr. Mahesh Patil.  For some time, a team of cops had launched search operations in the region, especially in some of the isolated zones running deep into the jungles and around the villages of Bhayandar, that have emerged as the favorite destination for illicit liquor brewers (haath-bhatti’s).

While several bootleggers had been rounded up, the Bhayandar police led by Senior Police Inspector- Rajendra Kamble recently busted half a dozen ‘haath bhatti’s’ that were clandestinely operating in the rural areas of the city. On Feb 4, the cops received a tip-off about a brewing unit in the Shivneri area of Rai village near Bhayandar.

A team led by Police Sub Inspector Sagar Chavan used the Google Earth application to locate the exact position of two brewing units and also alternative routes to reach the spots. While the kingpin identified as Prakash K. Patil was arrested and booked under section 65 of the Bombay Prohibition Act, multiple barrels of hooch along with ingredients including 650 litres of fermented jaggery wash and other manufacturing equipments were seized and later destroyed by the police team.

Palghar police

Police raids illicit hooch via GoogleThe local crime branch of Palghar police on Feb 8, busted five illegal liquor dens and seized about 2500 litres of manufactured liquor worth Rs. 1.50 lakh and also seized raw materials stored for manufacturing liquor worth Rs 1.30 lakhs. Police have arrested three women and one 45-year-old man who were involved in the manufacture of illegal India Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) in Palghar.

According to police sources, they had received several complaints about a woman involved in the illegal business and under the guidance of  Shardha Raut -SP, the crime branch team headed by PI Ashok Honamane raided five illegal dens where illegal liquor was being manufactured and arrested three women who were running this illegal business since last several years. Stored raw material worth Rs. 1.30 Lakhs was also seized.

The arrested accused have been identified as Sugdha Boyer- 42, Janabai Boyer- 65, Housabai Boyer- 60 and Kisan Boyer-45.

Cops Speak

Police raids illicit hooch via Google (2)“We had received a tip-off through our source that some people are involved in the manufacture of illegal liquor at Vasai and Virar districts, so we raided these three places at Vasai in Gokhivare where three women were involved in running of illegal liquor business. Raw material stored for the manufacture of liquor was also seized from their possession. We have also arrested Kisan Boyer (45) from Vasai who was arrested red handed while manufacturing liquor at the backyard behind his house. Raw material and liquor worth Rs. 40,000 was seized from his possession and a case was registered against all the four accused at Waliv & Arnala police stations. They were booked under relevant sections of IPC and further investigations are in progress.”