MeraNews Network, Ahmedabad: The situation of the liquor ban in Gujarat is quite weird. Despite the state government reiterating about a complete ban on liquor in the state, the cops either half-heartedly implement the law or simply let the bootleggers operate under their protection. One such instance in Navsari saw alleged bootleggers trying to run over officials of the State Monitoring Cell, who were conducting a raid on suspected liquor dens that were freely operating in the area. The raid was conducted under the direct orders state home minister Pradipsinh Jadeja and Gujarat DGP Shivanand Jha, without keeping the local police in the loop.

There are many ways and routes to smuggle liquor into the state, one of them being the route from Valsad where liquor is smuggled from Daman into the state. After the infamous spurious liquor death in Surat two years ago, the government had posted IGP Shamsher Singh to curb the menace, but he along with SP Nirlipt Rai were transferred shortly due to political pressure and the situation began to deteriorate. A few months ago, IPS Rajkumar Pandian was transferred to Surat Range. Pandian is known to be in the good books of the government. He was amongst the accused cops in the alleged fake encounter of gangster Sohrabuddin Shaikh who got discharged from the case. Upon being discharged and back on active duty, Pandian even got promoted and got a plum posting too.

Another top cop, who is a close confidante of Pandian is Abhay Chudasama, but he has kept himself away from the business of liquor smuggling ever since he was the DCP of Ahmedabad Crime Branch. He is currently posted at Vadodara Range and here to ensure that no bootlegging flourishes in his area. Pandian is infamous for his misbehavior with his juniors. Recently almost every SP belonging to the Surat Range complained to the DGP about Pandian’s misconduct and insulting behavior. During his time at the ATS, Pandian had once broken the arm of his personal secretary and a complaint in this regards was lodged with the police.

After one of the recent raids in the rural areas of Surat, several police officers were suspended for failing to discharge their duties properly. The matter came to the notice of the home minister and it came to light that the bootleggers were having direct contacts with the IGP office. One of the bootleggers from Daman known as Vinod Bhaiyya had no fear of the local cops as he was in good terms with top police officials. Despite several SPs and inspectors not wanting Vinod Bhaiyya to run his illicit liquor business in their range, they weren’t in a position to stop him from doing so. When the DGP ordered a raid on his liquor dens without informing local police, a skirmish had broken out between the cops and the smugglers where the police had to fire five rounds at the criminals who tried to run over them. It won’t come as a surprise if major transfers occur in the Surat range after the incident.

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