PATNA: Several bottles of liquor were found in a vehicle owned by a Congress MLA in Bihar, where a stringent prohibition law has been in place for four years, police said on Thursday.
The incident took place in Buxar district and the MLA Sanjay Tiwari- said he was "shocked" and in favour of legal action against four occupants of the car who have been arrested if they were found guilty.
Superintendent of Police, Buxar, Upendranath Verma said information was received late Wednesday night that an SUV spotted in Simri police station area was carrying liquor.
"We intercepted the SUV and found eight bottles of liquor inside. Its occupants were arrested and booked under the relevant sections. From the cars registration certificate we learnt that it is owned by the MLA. Further investigations are on", the SP said.
The MLA did not deny the ownership of the vehicle, but remarked "my aides take the car frequently for distribution of ration among the needy.
I am surprised how, with instructions for visiting Jagdishpur, they ended up in Simri which is in the opposite direction".
"Let there be a thorough investigation and I do not mind if my supporters are punished, provided they are guilty of wrongdoing and not at the receiving end of some conspiracy", Tiwari added.
Notably, the prohibition law in Bihar had earlier provisions under which owner of a vehicle or a premises could end up behind bars upon recovery of liquor from his property despite not being physically present at the time of seizure.
The law was amended a couple of years back following an outcry against the draconian provisions.
Meanwhile, the RLSP an opposition party founded and headed by former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha reiterated its skepticism over the prohibition law which was introduced by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with much fanfare in 2016.
"It is an open secret that prohibition in Bihar exists only on paper.
Bootlegging has thrived even during the nationwide lockdown which is evident from the incident in Buxar and the dismissal of policeman elsewhere a few weeks ago who was filmed purchasing liquor", RLSP national secretary general Madhaw Anand said in a statement.
He said the government should, therefore, consider reviewing its unsuccessful policy of banning liquor which would "not just be convenient for those in the habit of drinking but also generate substantial revenue which the state has been losing on account of the obstinate measure".
People need to be aware of the ill-effects of alcohol, especially if not consumed in moderation, and the government must by all means carry out awareness campaigns to the effect, he said.
"Banning liquor has been experimented with in many states and even other countries.
It has always been a failure", Anand added.