Patna, Dec 15 : Despite stringent punishment for the trade or consumption of liquor in Bihar, bootleggers have continued to sell liquor illegally.
In the last 11 months, the Prohibition Excise & Registration Department of Bihar police seized 8,606 litres of liquor per day from January 1 to November 30 this year.
A total of 28,91,731 litres of liquor including 8,59,063 litres of country made liquor and 20,32,667 litres of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) was seized in 43 districts by the department, a senior official said on condition of anonymity.
"39,467 FIRs have been registered and 48,187 people have been arrested in this connection so far while 26,039,56 litres of liquor has been destroyed," he said.
"We have initiated a special drive against illegal trade and transportation of liquor. Sixty four raids were conducted and apart from liquor, we also seized 24,000 litres of spirit, Rs 1,83,890 cash and 88 mobile phones," he added.
Following the ban on liquor sale in Bihar, mafias started home delivery of liquor through various illegal means.
"We have a structure of local intelligence to keep a tab on illegal traders. Based on information by local intelligence, we conducted 346 raids and arrested 171 offenders involved either in home delivery or consumption of liquor. We have registered cases against 196 persons as well," he said.
A total of 1,21,121 litres of IMFL was seized while it was being delivered to the clients between January 1 to November 30. Apart from this, 26.74 kg ganja (marijuana), 450 litre Tari, 50 mobile phones, three firearms, 12 cartridges and two magazines have also been seized.
According to the police, the majority of the smuggling cases were detected from the border areas of Nepal, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
In a joint operation by the department and the Sitamarhi police on December 14, four persons, identified as Pankaj Thakur, Shyam Babu, Salamat Khan and Anish Khan, were arrested in Birrakh village under the Sursand police station.
Sitamarhi ASP Pramod Kumar said, "We carried out an operation on the intervening night of December 13 and 14 based on specific inputs and managed to track the truck behind a cement store on Sursand-Pupri highway at Birrakh village on Indo-Nepal border. 527 cartons of liquor worth Rs 20 lakh were seized from it." On December 11, Siwan police destroyed a makeshift country made liquor manufacturing unit while on December 4, Vaishali police seized 419 cartons of IMFL worth Rs 30 lakh from Kuwari village under Ganga bridge police station. The liquor had been smuggled from Haryana.
The liquor ban was one of the crucial decisions of the Nitish Kumar government and the Opposition had raised questions over its in execution in the run-up to the recently held Assembly elections.