Patna: Several bottles of liquor were found in a vehicle owned by a Congress MLA in Bihar, where a stringent prohibition law has been in place for four years, police said Thursday. The Congress MLA said the occupants should be punished if found guilty.
The incident took place in Buxar district and the MLA Sanjay Tiwari said he was ‘shocked’ and in favour of legal action against four occupants of the car if they were found guilty. The four have been arrested.
Superintendent of Police, Buxar, Upendranath Verma said information was received late Wednesday night that an SUV spotted in Simri police station area was carrying liquor.
“We intercepted the SUV and found eight bottles of liquor inside. Its occupants were arrested and booked under the relevant sections,” Verma said. “From the cars registration certificate we learnt that it is owned by the MLA. Further investigations are on,” Verma added.
The MLA did not deny the ownership of the vehicle, but remarked ‘my aides take the car frequently for distribution of ration among the needy. I am surprised how, with instructions for visiting Jagdishpur, they ended up in Simri which is in the opposite direction’.
“Let there be a thorough investigation. I do not mind if my supporters are punished, provided they are guilty of wrongdoing and not at the receiving end of some conspiracy,” Tiwari said.
Notably, the prohibition law in Bihar had earlier provisions under which owner of a vehicle or a premises could end up behind bars upon recovery of liquor from his property despite not being physically present at the time of seizure. The law was amended a couple of years back following an outcry against the draconian rule.
Meanwhile, the RLSP an opposition party founded and headed by former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha reiterated its skepticism over the prohibition law which was introduced by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with much fanfare in 2016.
“It is an open secret that prohibition in Bihar exists only on paper. Bootlegging has thrived even during the nationwide lockdown which is evident from the incident in Buxar. Even policemen are involved in the illicit trade. The dismissal of policeman who was filmed purchasing liquor a few ago bears testimony to the fact,” RLSP national secretary- general Madhaw Anand said in a statement.
Anand said the government should, therefore, consider reviewing its unsuccessful policy of banning liquor which would ‘not just be convenient for those in the habit of drinking but also generate substantial revenue which the state has been losing on account of the obstinate measure’.
People need to be aware of the ill-effects of alcohol, especially if not consumed in moderation, and the government must by all means carry out awareness campaigns to the effect, Anand said.