‘Dry’ Bihar accuses Jharkhand of helping smugglers push alcohol into its territory
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‘Dry’ Bihar accuses Jharkhand of helping smugglers push alcohol into its territory

In a letter sent to the home secretary of Jharkhand, the Nitish Kumar government has accused the neighbouring state of not co-operating in its efforts to stop liquor from being smuggled into Bihar.

india Updated: Jun 07, 2017 15:09 IST
Subhash Pathak
Subhash Pathak
Hindustan Times, Patna
Bihar-Jkand spat,Liquor smuggling,Prohibition
About nine lakh litres of liquor has been seized since total prohibition was imposed on Bihar in April 2016. (Reuters file photo)

The Bihar government has sought the intervention of the neighbouring state of Jharkhand to restrain officials posted on the Jharkhand side of the border between the two states, from ‘protecting’ those smuggling liquor into Bihar, where total prohibition is in force since April 5, 2016.

In a letter to the Jharkhand home secretary, Bihar’s additional secretary (home), Chandrashekhar Singh, has accused the circle officer (CO) of Deoghar in Jharkhand and the local police of being hands in glove with illicit liquor traders.

Specifically, Singh has charged the CO of Deoghar, a district on Jharkhand’s border with Bihar, with extending patronage to persons accused in cases lodged by Banka (Bihar) police, under the Bihar Prohibition and Excise Act, in February.

Citing evidence gleaned and recoveries made, in a case lodged at the Baunsi police station of Banka, the Bihar government has charged a licensed brewery in Deoghar, with transporting liquor surreptitiously into bordering district of Bihar.

“Letters with the seizure list of the Bihar police, directed to Mohanpur and Jasidih police stations (in Jharkhand), have evoked no response,” Singh has stated in his letter.

“A case was finally instituted after the matter was taken with up by the Deoghar SP. But this case has too many loopholes. It does not mention many vital pieces of evidence and many accused were let off. It hints at involvement of local officials in protecting the accused,” the letter mentioned.

Even though the letter, Bihar officials said, had been despatched on March 23, Jharkhand home secretary SKG Rahate, when contacted, said he had not come across any such letter from Bihar,. “I will look into the matter,” he told HT.

Bihar’s principal secretary (home), Amir Subhani, who also heads the excise department, said the Jharkhand police failed to take appropriate steps to cooperate with Bihar in enforcing total prohibition in this state.

“Our SPs have been told to take up such matters with the SPs of districts of Jharkhand in case the seizure of the smuggled liquor and those accused of pushing it had connections with the neighbouring state,” said Subhani.

Claiming ‘total’ non-cooperation from Jharkhand in excise related cases, a senior police officer of Gaya in southern Bihar said Jharkhand’s excise department had dismissed a case lodged at the Barachatti (Gaya) police station, pertaining to a raid conducted on a Kokar-based godown of a brewery in Ranchi.

“A person nabbed by the Gaya police had claimed he had received a consignment of liquor from Kokar based godown, but the Jharkhand excise department gave it a clean chit,” he said.

Further, the police officer said, a team of Barachatti police station, located on borders of Hazaribag and Chatra districts of Jharkhand, had raided Pandewar area of Chouparan PS of Hazaribag, in February. But a report on the raid had yet to be received from Jharkhand.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar had urged his Jharkhand counterpart Raghubar Das to help cooperate in enforcing total prohibition in Bihar. But Das dismissed this as part of Kumar’s ‘political’ agenda of Kumar. Moreover, the excise department of Jharkhand enhanced the quota of liquor supplied to districts bordering Bihar.

About nine lakh litres of liquor, both country-made and of foreign brands, have been seized by the Bihar police over the past one year, and 44,000 persons have been arrested in Bihar for violation of the liquor ban law.

First Published: May 13, 2017 20:28 IST