Though the Special Investigating Team (SIT) constituted to bust the mafia involved in illicit trade of spurious liquor after death of seven persons from Slappar area after drinking liquor few days back have arrested nearly a dozen persons in this case the involvement of few district level Congress leaders have surprised many .
The callousness of certain officials of excise and taxation department and failure of law enforcing agencies has definitely come under the scanner after the exposure. It is a common knowledge all these departments get complimentary or liquor on cheaper rates from the liquor traders.
It is unexplained how such an organized racket was continuing since so long under the nose of the concerned departments. The role of money definitely must be a compelling reason for the agencies not to act against the mafia although they acted with alacrity after the deaths.
The most disturbing aspect of this episode is political affiliations of majority of the people named in the case. From elected office bearers of panchayats to former office bearer’s majority found to allegedly involve in the illicit liquor trade have political connection.
Alleged involvement of certain district level office bearers is not only shocking but speaks volumes about the nexus in this racket. Neeraj Thakur now expelled General Secretary of the Hamirpur District Congress Committee has been active in the Congress politics since long and was reportedly an aspirant to get the Congress ticket from Hamirpur Assembly Constituency in the next elections.
Similarly, another key accused allegedly running illegal liquor factory Praveen Thakur is former Hamirpur district NSUI. The kingpin of the racket Gaurav Minhas from Palampur also has been allegedly getting patronage from certain local politicians.
Since free flow of liquor is quite common in every elections politicians definitely need their help during elections.
Liquor traders have also been patronizing many media persons in their areas. They have been obliging certain media persons through various means including giving advertisement to hard pressed journalists for the ads.
And with such level of dependence on liquor traders it becomes easy for the mafia to operate and very difficult task for the agencies to eradicate the illicit trade.