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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Wanted: ‘Confirmed teetotaller’ for first IG post to ensure a dry Bihar

Bihar became a dry state in April last year, and 95,000 people have been arrested across the state and over 74,000 cases lodged since the enforcement of prohibition.

patna Updated: Dec 14, 2017 13:54 IST
Avinash Kumar
Avinash Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Bottles of liquor being destroyed on the outskirts of Patna. (HT File Photo)
Bottles of liquor being destroyed on the outskirts of Patna. (HT File Photo)

Bihar is on a lookout for a “confirmed teetotaller” to man the newly-created post of inspector general of police to strictly implement prohibition in the state and “lead by example”.

“The pre-requisite for the post, created during the last cabinet meeting in November, is that the first incumbent occupying the post should be able to lead by example to silence those who point an accusing finger towards officials despite successful implementation of the prohibition law,” a senior official at the Bihar police headquarters in Patna said.

Bihar became a dry state in April last year. Consuming, keeping or dealing in liquor is an offence under the state’s new prohibition law, which provides for imprisonment up to 10 years.

At least 95,000 people have been arrested across the state and over 74,000 cases lodged since the enforcement of prohibition but the smuggling of liquor has remained unabated.

“IG (prohibition) will be under the criminal investigation department (CID) just for namesake as it will have enormous power and interact directly with the chief minister. For chief minister Nitish Kumar, prohibition is at the focus of his governance at present as a tool for social transformation,” another senior official said.

He added there are not many in the race as the state has a shortage of IG-rank officials. Bihar has 35 IG-rank officials of whom 13 are on central deputation, while five others are officers promoted from the state police service.

The stakes will be high for the taking person taking charge of the new post as the incumbent will report directly to the chief minister, home secretary and the director general of police.

The additional director general of police (headquarters) Sanjiv Kumar Singhal said that the newly created post will be crucial to add momentum to the prohibition campaign and counteract smuggling.

“The IG (prohibition) would be responsible for preparing a database, oversee the investigation, takeover cases, monitor raids and ensure implementation of prohibition policy. He can issue a directive to any SP at any time he wills,” Singhal added.

Another official said that the man might have already been identified but the name is being kept under wraps to ward off speculation.

Former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, who heads the BJP ally Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM)-S, created a flutter on Wednesday by saying that chief minister Kumar just needed to carry out breath analyser tests among his bureaucrats and police officials to know the truth about prohibition.

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad recently charged that the prohibition policy was hollow as liquor was “freely available” through couriers providing home delivery albeit at double the cost in the state.

Bihar, has porous borders with Nepal, while smuggling through Ganga river from West Bengal, besides Jharkhand and UP remains rampant. Excise officials seized 370 cartons of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL), said to be worth about Rs 2 crore, from north Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district last month.

First Published: Dec 14, 2017 13:53 IST