Picture for representation
Picture for representation

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who had introduced total prohibition in the state in April 2016 faced a harsh reality when an SP in the prohibition department admitted with the connivance of the excise officials.

Bihar: Prohibition dept SP's letter confirms nexus between liquor mafia and excise officials

Prohibition department had failed and recommended investigations into the assets of all excise officials right from constable to superintendents.
The letter written to all district SPs of railway police by the then SP (Prohibition) Rakesh Kumar Sinha on January 6 had to be withdrawn after two weeks following protests from the excise officials who were dubbed as involved in the illicit liquor trade.

The government also ordered the immediate transfer of the SP to a special branch in police headquarters. The deputy SP who had issued the letter on behalf of SP has been served with a show-cause notice too.
The letter sent to the SPs on January 6 quoted a reference from the DG of police sent on December 11 last year and said investigations into the movable and immovable assets of all officers and employees in Excise and prohibition department should be investigated.

Bihar government had introduced total prohibition through legislation and there is a total ban on sale and purchase of liquor, still, in all police stations of the state, illicit trade of liquor was rampant, according to the letter of the SP.
SP in his letter also alleged by offering bribes (Chadava) to the inspectors, sub-inspectors and constables, liquor was being sold. He also alleged local elected representatives were also involved in the illicit liquor trade.

"Prohibition laws of the state government have become subject of mockery," SP said in his letter.
The letter also said once the investigations to the assets of the excise and police officers at police station level were conducted, huge quantum of ill-gotten money from liquor trade would become public. He also suggested the mobile locations and detailed call records of their mobiles would be investigated. The mobile calls made by their family members should also be investigated to establish links with the liquor mafia, SP said.
He had also asked the SPs to send the investigation reports to Police headquarters within a week. SP's letter confirmed the allegations made by the leader of opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav that prohibition had failed in Bihar.

Till last year, 1.67 lakh people were arrested on charges of violating the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, 2016 and more than 30 lakh litres of liquor was seized. In Patna High Court, over two lakh cases were pending since 2016, most of them related to bail petitions filed by the offenders. The entire team of 27 policemen posted in a police station in Saran district was arrested and dismissed for violation of prohibition laws. Last week, the High Court ordered their reinstatement.

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