Joint raids by Vellore and Chittoor districts police resulted in a sizeable reduction in arrack distillation in Vellore district, sources revealed.
“While some big and influential persons involved in illicit distillation might have profited, the worker ultimately had nothing to show for his work. Ultimately they might even go to jail and hence it is such persons who are now seeking a new lease of life,” a senior Ranipet official said.
Though illicit distillation had a low profile in Vellore district, it shot up after commencement of the national lockdown due to which Tasmac retail outlets were shut. It was then the joint raids started in hilly tracts on Vellore district.
Police officials said that when the ADGP (enforcement) called for a meeting on this issue prior to the lockdown on March 10 at Chennai, it was also attended by the Chittoor SP due to distillers’ habit of escaping to AP when Vellore cops raided and vice versa.
From March 25 to June 29 a total of 948 cases were registered while 896 distillers and transporters were arrested of whom 434 were remanded to custody by Prohibition wing, Vellore SP Pravesh Kumar said.
“The above high arrest tally was due to joint efforts taken by Vellore and Chittoor police to curb the trade” Pravesh Kumar said. Media was kept abreast of the raids conducted daily in the district’s hilly terrain specially near Gudiyattam and Ariyur on the outskirts of Vellore. “In all cases, what was common was that “distillers would dig a deep pit cover it with a tarpaulin and thus use it as a temporary container to collect fermented wash,” a senior inspector involved in the raids explained.