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With the arrest of a chemical engineer, excise officials today claimed to have busted an inter-state racket in Odisha thriving on smuggling toxic methyl alcohol. Rajendra Kumar Sahu (34) of Kendrapara district, who allegedly ran the racket procuring the products from Maharashtra, was arrested yesterday. A special squad constituted for the purpose has made the seizure of around 21,000 litres of the toxic substance during raids at Sohela in Bargarh and Chandol village in Kendrapara district. The toxic substance meant for industrial use had made its way to Kendrapara from Mumbai, the officials said. Acting on a tipoff, a raid was conducted in a house in Chandol locality in Kendrapara and the consignment of methyl alcohol packed in three plastic containers was seized, Deputy Superintendent, Excise, Cuttack, Harish Chandra Sethy, said. Kingpin of the racket Rajendra Sahu was nabbed from Chandol along with 10,000 litre of methyl alcohol.
Following revelations made by him, raids were conducted later at Sohela in Bargarh district and 11,000 litres of toxic substances in liquified form were recovered from a deserted house, he said. The arrested man did not possess the licence for commercial transaction of such hazardous substances. Though he said that he had procured the alcohol for paints factories, it is being investigated whether he was supplying it to bootleggers, he said. The state excise department is in touch with its counterpart in Maharashtra for expediting the investigation, Sethy said. A search is on to nab three of Sahu's accomplices.
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