Prashant Dayal, Ahmedabad: Recently, a Surat court received an application from the family of an alleged bootlegger claiming that cops had fired at him while he was out for a morning walk in an attempt to kill him. The bootlegger, Bhavesh Rathod saw the state monitoring cell conduct raids at his place to seize the stash of imported liquor he has been selling openly in Navsari under the patronage of the local police. He was injured in a skirmish with the raid team and was advised by the local cops to file a complaint against the monitoring cell sleuths of an attempt to murder.

One had to pass through several bureaucratic and administrative hurdles to set up a business in Gujarat, but not in the case of selling illicit liquor. Bootlegging liquor is a trade where even top cops come to help, given that they are kept in good spirits too. Gujarat DGP Shivanand Jha, who had been informed of a thriving bootlegging business in Navsari, had ordered the monitoring cell to conduct raids at liquor dens. During one of the raids, the bootleggers had tried to run over the raid team, which led to a skirmish between the cops and the bootleggers, where PSI Lathiya shot and injured Rathod.

The cops had interrogated Rathod while he was undergoing treatment at a hospital, where he had confessed to them that he used to work for infamous liquor smuggler Vinod Bhaiyya. Their business relationship was established after the cops examined their call records too and a complaint was filed against Rathod. But this move by the state monitoring cell had upset and worried some of the local police officials who were hand in glove in the liquor business. They suggested that Rathod and his family filed a complaint against the raid team of an attempt to murdering him.

According to the application filed by Rathod’s family, Rathod had gone out of his house at 4 AM for his morning walk on the day of the incident. While driving, an SUV rammed into his car at great speed and sped away. Rathod followed the SUV to an open ground, where he was attacked by PSI Lathiya and his team as he got out of his car. Rathod was shot and injured, so he escaped in his car and got himself treated for his injuries at a private hospital.

This is not the first instance where the cops were accused of assault by the bootleggers. DCP Nirlipt Rai was accused of assault and attempt to murder by Ahmedabad bootlegger Kamlesh bhaiyya after a raid at his liquor dens by the cops.

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