KOCHI: The excise enforcement squad seized 760 litres of spirit concealed in a tank underneath a toddy shop at Thottakkattukara near Aluva on Thursday night. The excise department has arrested two persons and is searching for three persons, including the licensee of the toddy shop, said an officer. The enforcement squad had carried out the search following a tip-off. The shop, operating under the Mangalapuzha bridge connecting Desom and Thottakkattukara, had a separate shed with a small door to stock spirit in barrels.
The tank containing spirit was kept in an underground chamber there. Around 1.65 kg of Ceylon paste used for fermentation process and 270 grams of saccharine used as an artificial sweetener for toddy were also seized. “It was a time-consuming operation. We had to remove entire barrels to find the tank containing spirit underground. They set up the shed to hide the spirit. There were 760 litres of spirit in the tank,” said P V Elias, Deputy Excise Commissioner, Ernakulam.
Toddy shop employees Salindran, 26, and Varghese, 76, were arrested. The licensee of the shop Sunil, and Antony and Jibi — who are running the shop — have absconded. “Their mobile phones are switched off,” Elias said. Excise officers suspect that the spirit was brought along with toddy from Palakkad. “It is clear they were mixing spirit with toddy. Sometimes, they brought mixed toddy from Palakkad. The case has been handed over to Aluva Excise Range team for further investigation,” an officer said.