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Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

Liquor smugglers in dry Bihar turn to minors to transport alcohol

Police said liquor smugglers are hiring minors because professional drivers are no longer willing to risk ferrying alcohol because of stringent punishment.

india Updated: Oct 24, 2019 01:26 IST
Avinash Kumar
Avinash Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
In dry Bihar,  a bottle of alcohol fetches two to three times its normal price. markets.
In dry Bihar, a bottle of alcohol fetches two to three times its normal price. markets. (Representative image/HT Photo)
         

The Bihar police on Tuesday busted an alcohol smuggling racket in the dry state when they intercepted a truck carrying 4,610 litres of liquor and detailed the driver, aged 17, and the cleaner, aged 16 in Purnia. Neither of them had any licence nor any information about what they were transporting, police said.

“The driver seemed unaware of the liquor bottles kept in the truck. He said a person had told him at Dalkona to take the truck to Gunda Chowk in Purnia, where another person was expected to meet him,” said a police officer.

Purnia’s Superintendent of Police Vishal Sharma said, “Both the driver and cleaner are minors. The kingpin must have kept these two in dark while assigning them the task. We are trying to nab the kingpin.”

Police said the number plate on the truck was fake and the alcohol was hidden under gunny bags.

Police said hiring minors is a new way to smuggle liquor in dry Bihar. The minors are even lured into driving heavy vehicles like truck and containers despite not having license. Alcohol fetches two-to-three times the normal price in Bihar which is under prohibition.

The East-West Corridor passing through Purnia has become infamous for liquor smuggling. Often trucks laden with liquor have been caught on the stretch. The SP said that with the truck owners and professional drivers no longer willing risk ferrying liquor due to heightened surveillance and stringent punishment, the smugglers were now using minors

“Even if the minors are caught, they will face trail in juvenile courts and escape within months. This is what the smugglers are taking advantage of and luring minors,” Sharma added.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar had enforced prohibition as part of his pre-poll promise to a group of women in 2016 and has been unwavering in his stand on prohibition.

The Opposition has been consistently highlighting the failure of prohibition and how it has led to the emergence a parallel economy through black money generated through liquor smuggling.

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