Liquor smuggling rampant in Bihar despite raids, seizures

Liquor smuggling rampant in Bihar despite raids, seizures

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has directed Bihar police to conduct massive raids and hunt those engaged in illegal manufacture and sale of liquor in the dry state.

This comes after five people died in a hooch tragedy in Rohtas district on Saturday.

The police on Sunday conducted raids and seized 57 litres of Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) and 106 litres of country-made liquor on Sunday from Patna.

Ever since prohibition was imposed in April 2016, police and excise officials have conducted 4.85 lakh raids throughout the state in the past18 months, registered 77,000 FIRs and seized 11.22 lakh litres of IMFL as well as 6.4 lakh litres of country-made liquor (figures till October 2017). This includes around 6.5 lakh litres of IMFL seized in this calendar year.

"The seizure list is just a fraction of the quantity of liquor being smuggled from Haryana, Delhi, Jharkhand, Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. Ever since Bihar was declared a dry state in April last year, the liquor smuggling syndicate has been working overtime selling branded ones at thrice the original price," a senior police officer said preferring anonymity.

Some of the police and excise officials, who were found to be hand in glove with the liquor smugglers, have even lost their job.

"No doubt, prohibition has been strictly enforced in Bihar. But liquor smuggling is rampant because of the state's topography. Bihar shares a porous border with Nepal in the north, Uttar Pradesh in the west, Bengal in the east and Jharkhand in the south," said the officer.

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad has also been very critical on the issue.

"Prohibition has been a complete failure. I had cautioned Nitish (when he took the decision last year) that the idea may be good, but it will have operational problems during its implementation," said Lalu.

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