A case was registered against an army soldier after he was caught with more than a dozen bottles of alcohol at the Hajipur railway station in northern Bihar on Saturday night.
Government railway police (GRP) seized 22 bottles of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) from Dhiraj Kumar at around 9 pm just as he was to alight from the Dibrugarh-New Delhi Rajdhani express in Vaishali district.
A total prohibition was imposed in Bihar on April 5, making possession and consumption of liquor an offence under the new excise law.
Kumar is a resident of Ismailpur village in Saran district and was posted at Shillong in the army signal core. His haul of 22 bottles of rum were apparently sourced from an army canteen.
Although Kumar claimed he was allowed to carry the IMFL for personal use, GRP sources said an FIR was lodged against him. His commanding officer was informed prior to the arrest.
BN Jha, superintendent of railway police, Muzaffarpur, said, “For violation of the existing rule of total prohibition of liquor, the army jawan has been forwarded to judicial custody.”
Army officials have been resisting the application of the prohibition law on serving and retired army personnel but the state government has been adamant in insisting that the law be applicable to all.
A revised bill is currently in Bihar assembly that makes the excise law even more stringent, extending the liability to entire families and even assets. However, some legislators have countered the changes, calling the revised bill ‘draconian’. Bihar has been struggling to ensure complete prohibition in the state, a key promise of chief minister Nitish Kumar that resonated among the women. However, the black market remains to be a problem.