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Friday, Sep 20, 2019

Bihar government seeks authority to seize assets worth up to ₹10 cr under PMLA

The Bihar proposal envisages delegation to it the authority for attachment of property amassed by offenders or their relatives from crimes listed under 36 other Central acts, besides the PMLA. 

india Updated: Jun 28, 2017 18:13 IST
Subhash Pathak
Subhash Pathak
Hindustan Times, Patna
Out of 12 cases that Bihar referred to ED for confiscation of properties, only two have been acted upon.
Out of 12 cases that Bihar referred to ED for confiscation of properties, only two have been acted upon.(Representative image)

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, on Wednesday, urged the centre to delegate to the Bihar government the authority to confiscate assets worth up to Rs 10 crore, under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). This power is so far vested with the enforcement directorate (ED). 

The CM raised the demand at a function organised here to mark the International day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking.

An SMS service to encourage de-addiction and work on drug safety godowns, were also launched on the occasion. The CM also released guidelines and manuals for the police and excise officials to pursue cases related to drug trafficking and cyber crime. 

Exhorting officials to intensify crackdown on those indulging in illicit trade of liquor, Kumar said the right to confiscate assets of offenders was now important as the state was moving to a total de-addition regime, from liquor prohibition, which was enforced in Bihar on April 5, last year. 

The CM said he had been asking for it (the authority) for the past five years and had raised the issue at every inter-state meeting, but the Centre had refused to delegate the authority. “Asking for such authority is not intended to dilute the powers of ED. Rather, delegation of authority to seize assets (of PMLA offenders) would only make the ED’s task easier”, Kumar argued.

Officials said the state government had sent proposals for confiscation of properties in 12 cases, but the ED had acted only in two cases so far. The state government’s proposal envisaged attachment of property amassed by the offenders or their relatives from crimes listed under 36 other Central acts, besides the PMLA. 

Taking a dig at the opposition’s bid to dub the liquor prohibition in Bihar as a flop show, the CM said it has helped the state to intensify the crackdown on surreptitious liquor trade.

He wondered as to how the ban could fail if more than 4 crore people formed a human chain in support of liquor prohibition, which followed a voluntary submission of pledge by 1.19 crore people and over nine lakh wall paintings in its support. 

Dismissing speculation of a sharp fall in revenue collection post liquor ban, CM said the state’s revenue receipt for the past fiscal fell just by around Rs 1,000 crore even though the excise department was supposed to suffer a loss of Rs 5,000 post prohibition.

“Even that shortfall will be erased by next year. The ban helped people of the state to save Rs 10,000, which was wasted on liquor earlier,” he said. 

Citing a jump in tourists’ inflow into Bihar, post liquor ban, Kumar said footfall of domestic tourists had gone up by 68% and foreign tourists by 9%. 

Chief secretary Anjani Kumar Singh urged the education department to include the initiative of liquor ban in the text books, which could help the state to move ahead with a fresh plan for total de-addiction. He said the rehabilitation centres set up to help people get rid of liquor habit were being equipped with trained doctors to deal with cases of drug abuse. 

Director general of police PK Thakur said the police had tracked the main transit routes of drugs and liquor with the help of central agencies and seized a huge quantity of contraband items. Purnia-Begusarai, Muzaffarpur-Vaishali and Raxaul have been identified as main routes of drug and liquor trafficking, he added.

First Published: Jun 28, 2017 18:13 IST