Auc­tion seized prop­er­ties in 2 weeks: Ni­tish

The Indian Express - - EXPRESS NETWORK - SAN­TOSH SINGH

BI­HAR LIQUOR BAN

BI­HAR CHIEF Min­is­ter Ni­tish Ku­mar has told dis­trict au­thor­i­ties to start auc­tion­ing within a fort­night prop­er­ties that are con­fis­cated from vi­o­la­tors of the liquor pro­hi­bi­tion law in the state.

Although in most dis­tricts land, cars and homes have been con­fis­cated from al­leged vi­o­la­tors, not a sin­gle prop­erty has been auc­tioned.

The auc­tion rule al­lows al­leged vi­o­la­tor to par­tic­i­pate in the sale process to buy back their prop­er­ties. How­ever, if such auc­tions are car­ried out within a fort­night of the con­fis­ca­tion of the prop­er­ties or be­long­ings, al­leged vi­o­la­tors would lose what they had owned and be com­pelled to buy them back with­out be­ing con­victed.

Ac­cord­ing to the Bi­har Ex­cise (amend­ment) Act that came into force on Oc­to­ber 2, 2016, any­thing al­legedly used for drink­ing, stor­ing or trans­port­ing liquor can be con­fis­cated. The law is silent on what will hap­pen if the ac­cused is ac­quit­ted by a court later.

The gov­ern­ment can at best re­fund the bid­ding price of a prop­erty with­out in­ter­est. Le­gal ex­perts said this pro­vi­sion of the law “needed to be chal­lenged”.

Sev­eral top gov­ern­ments of­fi­cials PTI agreed the auc­tion pro­vi­sion was harsh and they would not do any­thing till it was suc­cess­fully chal­lenged in court.

Ni­tish Ku­mar at a video con­fer­ence meet­ing with the chief sec­re­tary, state po­lice chief, ex­cise com­mis­sioner, IGS, DMS and SPS on Thurs­day asked se­nior po­lice of­fi­cers to fight the “per­cep­tion of liquor mak­ing its way into Bi­har and some peo­ple still con­sum­ing it with im­punity”.

Ac­cord­ing to sources present at the meet­ing, dur­ing the three­hour ex­change, Ni­tish ex­pressed dis­plea­sure that the po­lice were un­able to con­test the bails granted to the ac­cused. To check liquor pil­fer­age and con­sump­tion at po­lice sta­tions, he sug­gested IGS, DMS and SPS adopt de­coy meth­od­sto­ex­poseer­rantof­fi­cers.

One po­lice of­fi­cer who was present at the meet­ing said: “We were asked to mon­i­tor each po­lice sta­tion in-charge,who would be de­nied field post­ing for 10 years if liquor is be­ing sold in his area.”

Ni­tishal­sore­port­ed­ly­tookex­cep­tion to the slow pace of de­struc­tion of seized liquor in the wake of stor­age prob­lems and re­ported al­le­ga­tions that po­lice­men were pil­fer­ing liquor. In all 38 dis­tricts, less than 50 per cent of the seized liquor stock is wait­ing for foren­sic re­ports that could take two to four months.

Ni­tish Ku­mar at a func­tion in Patna on Thurs­day.

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