An MBA graduate from a Noida-based private university was arrested on the intervening night of January 14-15 in Patna for supplying illicit liquor.
Atul Singh, 28, had employed over three dozen youths in his business, the police said
Over 1,100 litres of liquor worth ₹21 lakh, a bag containing ₹1.75 lakh in cash, several passbooks and documents related to various monetary transactions were recovered from his three-bedroom accommodation at Mahatma Gandhi Nagar under the Patrakarnagar police station in Patna.
“A diary seized from Atul’s possession revealed that he sold liquor worth ₹9 lakh daily in various parts of Patna. He supplied liquor of several brands, including Black Dog, Officer’s Choice, McDowell’s, Blenders Pride, Old Monk Rum, Kingfisher, Royal Stag, Imperial Blue, 8 PM and 100 Pipers. His delivery agents were unemployed youths,” said Patrakarnagar police station in-charge Manoranjan Bharti. “He used to pay ₹500 to them after every delivery,” Mr. Bharti added.
Two of his associates, Indrajit Singh and Sanjiv Kumar, were also arrested. Later, another associate, Vishal Kumar, from Pandeypur-Tilhari village under Maner police station in Patna, was also arrested and sent to 14-day judicial custody, he said.
“All four have been booked under Section 13(A)/41 of the Bihar Prohibition and Excise (Amendment) Act,” Mr. Bharti added.
Atul Singh, originally from Alwalpur village in Patna district, allegedly told the police that after completing his MBA, he entered into the illicit liquor business as it was the only business “proliferating in Bihar”.
The stringent Prohibition and Excise Act in the State had come into effect in April 2016, under the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar-led government, with the provision of a minimum 10 year jail term for violators. However, the ban had opened several channels for smugglers to supply liquor in the dry State at rates that were two-three times higher than the original price. So far, over 2 lakh persons, mostly from the marginalised sections, had been arrested under the new law and over 30 lakh litres of alcohol had been confiscated in the State.
‘Hub for brokers’
Recently, the BJP MP from Aurangabad, Sushil Kumar Singh, had said prohibition in the State was a failure and that police stations had become a hub for “brokers” involved in the illegal supply of liquor. “Despite prohibition, police stations have become a hub for brokers involved in the illegal business of selling liquor in the State. Police officials patronise the sale of illegal liquor in their respective areas and only those who are weak are falsely implicated under the law. Prohibition is a failure in the State,” he said.
As many as 52 police officials in the State have been facing inquiries under the new law, while 36 of them have either been suspended or are facing departmental and administrative inquiries.
Of late, nearly 80,000 policemen in Bihar had taken a vow not to drink alcohol and to “work to ensure the successful implementation of the prohibition laws in the State.” However, the latest National Family Health Survey-5 for the year 2019-20, which was released on December 12, had revealed that 15.5% men above the age of 15 years still consumed alcohol in the State.