Saturday, Jun 14, 2003
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By Radhakrishnan Kuttoor
According to the Thiruvalla police, the illicit spirit was found filled in 30 plastic containers of 35-litre capacity each which reached the railway parcel office at Thiruvalla on Thursday evening. Records at the parcel office show that the consignment was sent from Mandia in Karnataka. The spirit was seized following a tip-off received by the local sub-inspector, K.B. Prafullachandran.
The consignment (RR No: 5,299), packed in 15 bundles of two spirit-filled containers each, which came in the breakwagon of the Kerala Express from New Delhi was first unloaded at the Kollam railway station reportedly due to the failure of the railway authorities to unload them at Thiruvalla. However, the authorities in Kollam redirected the parcel to Thiruvalla by the Nagarcoil-Kottayam passenger later in the afternoon. Soon the police conducted a surprise inspection at the parcel office and seized the illicit spirit. The police waited at the parcel office for more than two hours expecting the `consignee'.
People who witnessed the inspection said the parcel had the pungent smell of spirit emanating from it and this would not have escaped the attention of porters and railway personnel when the consignment was taken to the storeroom of the parcel office before the police reaching the spot. There are allegations of a big illicit liquor racket operating in Central Travancore with the patronage of certain political and official quarters. There are also allegations of the spirit mafia smuggling illicit liquor through the railway parcel service and in small Maruti cars.
According to the railway authorities, they are not supposed to verify the name and identity of the consignee or the consigner when a parcel reaches there. The parcel office authorities would release the consignment when the consignee or his representative presents the triplicate of the railway receipt issued from the station from where it was sent. The booking superintendent in Thiruvalla has said the parcel office has not received any details of the consigner or the consignee. It is available only at the Mandia parcel office.
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