October 18, 2021
Nagpur: The boom in the use of sanitizers during the lockdown has prompted racketeers to start misusing one of its key ingredients—denatured spirit—to manufacture alcohol.
State excise department sleuths have last week busted a racket, operating from Chankapur in Khaparkheda, which was allegedly using denatured spirit to manufacture country liquor, which is dangerous for human consumption.
Denatured spirit is the base material used for preparing cosmetics, phenyl and such things too apart from sanitizers.
Similar arrests were made in Nashik and Pune where denatured spirit distributors, who had supplied the material, had been taken into custody.
Senior excise officials are yet to come to conclusion whether the racketeers were actually using denatured spirit to manufacture liquor, but with a misleading label. Sources stated that the racketeers used the labels of denatured spirit to evade substantial tax surcharges.
In Nagpur, state excise team had zeroed down upon a den in Chankapur from where Mithun Saha (35) and his employee, Vishal Mondal (25), were caught red-handed while manufacturing liquor using denatured spirit
The department, led by senior inspector Narendra Thorat under the supervision of SP Pramod Sonone, had seized around 600 litres of denatured spirit apart from other material and equipment worth over Rs14.38 lakh.
“Denatured spirit may cause health hazards and its use in unauthorized liquor manufacture could have serious health implications,” he said.
Following interrogation of Saha and Mondal, distributor of the denatured spirit was nabbed from Nashik, Indranil Bannerjee, who also has an export and import business. Bannerjee had supplied around 200 litres of denatured spirit to Saha and Mondal using fake documents, said an official.
On October 7, the excise department had nabbed Avinash Pawar from Pune for having supplied around 400 liters of denatured spirit to Saha and Mondal without verifying the credentials of the manufacturer.
SP Sonone said the liquor seized from the racketeers has been sent to Regional Forensic Science Laboratory (RFSL) for final report
At RFSL, a team of scientists and analysts under deputy director Vijay Thakre is set to examine the seized liquor samples.