Over 1000 litres of seized liquor kept in the storehouse of Bareilly’s Cantonment police station has disappeared and local policemen blame rats for guzzling it down.
Rats have also earlier been blamed for polishing off seized liquor in dry Bihar, narcotics in Jharkhand and currency notes in Assam. They were also held guilty of causing floods in Bihar.
The latest incident came to light on Wednesday when the ‘malkhana’ (where seized items are stored) was opened to bring out the body of a stray dog which had sneaked into it a few days ago and died inside. But when its doors were opened, it was also found that several gallons of country-made liquor seized from illegal manufacturing units had vanished into thin air. Staff then blamed the rodents.
Superintendent of police Abhinandan Singh said an inquiry into the incident would be conducted to ascertain whether the liquor was consumed by rats or something else had happened to it.
“Cantonment police station head muharrir (clerk), Naresh Pal, who was posted recently, opened the door of the malkhana and found some liquor cans empty. He also saw rats near the seized liquor cans,” he said.
He said that seized liquor should be destroyed after a sample is kept for legal purpose. “I have written to senior officials several times regarding this, but no response has come yet,” he added.
Meanwhile, a retired zoology professor of Bareilly College, who did not want to be named, said that rats could consume liquor alternatively if they stayed at a place where water was not available. “But the quantity of liquor which the police claimed that rats had consumed is unbelievable. They cannot drink 1,000 litres of alcohol as rats have a strong dislike to a high concentration of liquor,” he said, adding it might be a simple case of theft.
This is not the first time that rodents have been blamed for disappearance of liquor. In Bihar, where prohibition is in force, rodents were last year believed to have finished off more than 900,000 litres of alcohol which the police had seized.
The issue came up after the media reported that the seized bottles of liquor were missing from police station ‘malkhanas’ (stores).
In 2017, Bihar water resources minister Rajiv Ranjan had blamed rodents for the state’s crumbling embankments and the consequent flooding in 21 districts that left more than 500 people dead and hundreds of thousands homeless, according to Hindustan Times.
Rats were also blamed for munching away through seized narcotics. Police in Jharkhand’s Dhanbad told a court last year that rats ate 45kg of marijuana seized from a man, who was smuggling 145kg of the narcotic from Bihar to West Bengal in 2016.
Earlier this year, Assam police have blamed rats for nibbling on currency notes worth more than 120,000 Indian rupees stored in an ATM of the State Bank of India in Tinsukia district.
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